So how are you feeling, you gallant warriors of the sky, you Top Guns of Iraq and District? Did you sleep well last night after your few minutes of bombing? Did you enjoy a pleasant breakfast back on the aircraft carrier? Perhaps a bit of a workout at the gym? You are the people described in glowing terms by White House robo-mouth Scott McClellan as “going out of the way to avoid civilian casualties; they target the enemy, they target terrorists and the Saddam loyalists who are seeking to kill innocent civilians and disrupt the transition to democracy”. And you are also the people who killed children when you blitzed a house in the Iraqi town of Bayji at about 9.30 on the night of January 3, 2006.
Do you have children, you fearless fly-boys? No doubt they are proud of you, if you have. And of course they must worry about you, because you fly airplanes. Not that there is much chance of you being shot down by Iraqi insurgents’ ground fire, but of course you might have a technical failure that could cause a crash. In fact there was little fear of being shot down even during the invasion of Iraq – – except by US Patriot missiles, one of which smashed into an F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-195) on April 2, 2003 and exterminated the pilot. (Another Patriot missile vaporized a Royal Air Force Hornet and its two crew the previous week. It’s a wonderful weapons system, providing its targets are friendly.) So it was a great war for US air power : no opposition air force of any sort, and puny fire from some ancient anti-aircraft pop-guns. But your children undoubtedly worried that you might not come home. They still worry about you.
But the children you killed in Bayji have no worries anymore, and nor do their parents, because you killed them, too. Of course you were immediately defended by the mouthpieces of the US military machine, whose first reaction is to lie, just like their president, when faced with evidence that atrocities have been committed. And you, the strutting, Mission-Accomplished fly-boys, the cream of the aerial cream and the most marvelous of marvelous — you are casual murderers.
CNN reported that “US military officials confirmed the attack Tuesday and said the bombs were dropped after an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft recorded three men planting a bomb next to a road about 9 p.m. After the men were tracked to a nearby building, Navy F-14 warplanes bombed the structure with ‘precision guided munitions’, the officials said.”
In a statement to AFP the US spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson declared that “the individuals were assessed as posing a threat to Iraq civilians and coalition forces, and the location of the three men was relayed to close air support pilots . . . . Coalition forces employed precision-guided munitions on the structure.”
But the “precision-guided munitions” included cannon fire. According to the US official statement an F-14 strafed the building before the bomb thundered down. By any definition, cannon fire is not “precision”. These people are lying to us. But what’s new about that? As I’ve written before : if they ate nails they’d crap corkscrews.
The F-14 Tomcat has a 20mm Vulcan six-barrel cannon that fires about 100 rounds a second. The pilot enjoys a wonderful video game when he swoops down and lets rip with his hi-tech toy. There’s no opposition to his aerial games. He is in no danger whatever. He’s been told to go kill anti-American ragheads and it’s jet-jock heaven up there, going VrrrrreeeeuuuwhaWHEEEENG at a hundred rounds a second with his revolving Colty cowboy machine. Then he or another bold comrade zooms along with another “precision-guided” weapon — just a teensy weensy itsy bitsy 500 pound bomb that is supposed to be able to strike a bee’s knees and leave the rest of the insect flying.
It is well to remember that the terrorist bomb that destroyed a tourist nightclub in Bali in 2002 weighed at most 400 pounds, according to the Australian Federal Police, and killed 200 people. “The explosion resulted in a tremendous release of energy in the form of gas, heat and light. This essentially caused a pressure wave, fragmentation and fire . . . As a measure of the force of the blast, the sound from the explosion was heard up to 15km away.”
Even the most accurately-delivered 500 pounder cannot destroy a building without damaging adjacent houses and killing people therein. Anyone who imagines or declares that this is possible is a liar or a moron or both.
Which brings us again to Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson, the military parrot who squawked on autocue that “Coalition forces employed precision guided munitions on the structure.”
This man — and all the others like him – – the dozens of uniformed and civilian clones who spout false statistics, misinformation, disinformation, twisted propaganda and sheer downright lies – – is untrue to his uniform and disloyal to the American Constitution. We should remember what one honorable US military officer said years ago to a Congressional Committee when accused of being disloyal to the evil Nixon : “Sir, I did not take an oath to defend the president; I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States”. (I might not have this quotation verbatim, as I’m traveling at the moment and don’t have access to ‘The Best and the Brightest’ by the brilliant Halberstam, in which it appears.)
After the slaughter of civilians by grotesquely inaccurate precision-guided weapons Lieutenant Colonel Johnson said “We are determining the facts in this particular case so we will know exactly how civilians may have been drawn into the air strike that was deemed necessary by our forces fighting insurgents on the ground.”
But the air strikes (note the plural) were not ordered by forces “fighting insurgents on the ground”. The strikes on the family’s house were ordered by techno-dweeb operators of a robot surveillance craft who think they saw its camera recording three people “emplacing an improvised explosive device” beside a road. These TV experts on the Iraq insurgency, sitting in Florida, apparently declared that “The individuals left the road site and were followed from the air to a nearby building”.
The fly-boys were let loose to destroy the “nearby building”. Their joy-bombing was followed by an official statement was that the attack had “successful effects against the insurgents”. The trouble is that it was the wrong building. So the official statement was a sheer downright deliberate lie.
The gallant fly-boys and their video-game controllers back in the US obliterated a house in which there was a family of Iraqis preparing to go to bed. The family had no connections with the Iraqi insurgency. They just had to die. And who cares? The official line is that the slaughtered kids “May have been drawn into the air strike” that was essential to “defend our forces fighting insurgents on the ground.”
Even in the ludicrous Orwell-speak of modern military truth-destruction, the phrase “drawn into the air strike” achieves a new low in iniquitous distortion. The word ‘may’ is mandatory for all lie-speakers and serves to inject just that insidious doubt that is meat and drink to the pro-war media.
The kids who were killed by US bombs and cannon fire directed deliberately by gung-ho yippee-shooting jet-jocks were not “drawn into” their barbaric bombing. This is one of the most disgusting attempts at mind-bending yet achieved by the robotic brain-washed fanatics of the US propaganda factories. These children were killed because the people who ordered their death and those who murdered them are devoid of pity and revel in the technical expertise that separates killer from victim. They have no connection with spouting blood and shattered limbs. They play real-life video games in which they cause children to die in many horrible ways. They are clinically detached from the death and destruction that is their joy and professional climax. They are monsters.
Then the wondrous Colonel Johnson declared “We’re now trying to determine in coordination with Iraqi security forces in the area exactly what casualties occurred, and why they occurred”. This was after he assured the world that “precision-guided munitions” had been used and that all the dead people were bad people.
Then the Washington Post recorded that its correspondent “watched as the corpses of three women and three boys who appeared to be younger than 10 were removed Tuesday from the house outside the town of Baiji, 150 miles north of Baghdad” and that “Emergency workers also retrieved the bodies of three women — a bloodied older woman whose head was wrapped in a black veil and two younger women whose hair was uncovered and who were dressed for bed. The head of one of the two young women was crushed.”
How did you sleep last night, you conquerors of the sky? Have you ever seen a woman’s head that was crushed by your bombs? And how about you, Lieutenant Colonel Johnson? Do you enjoy happy dreams? I don’t see how you can, given the lies you have told and the destruction and death you try so ineptly to conceal. But perhaps the new type of US military officer is schooled to ignore the crushing of women’s heads and the extinction of kids. They are only ragheads, so who cares?
There will be no results from the investigation by US forces of what happened at Bayji. It would be ingenuous to expect that there could be any meaningful board of inquiry, because it could not possibly deliver the finding that the video-game controller of the photographing drone was entirely wrong about the three men he condemned to death for appearing as if they were placing a bomb alongside a road. He would be guilty of a war crime, which necessitates trial. And there is no way that the US is ever going to permit any citizen to stand trial on a war crime charge. The barbaric jet jockeys are war heroes.
First-hand evidence is of no use to US military forces. It doesn’t interest them in any way, shape or form. After all, the murder of two Afghans in a US prison in 2002, well-recorded and described in hideous detail in US official records by US doctors, has not resulted in anyone being brought to justice for the crimes. It is as if these innocent murdered Afghans had never existed. They matter not a bit in the Greater Empire, just as the dozen people killed in a Yippee Shoot by the F-14 fly-boys in Iraq on January 3 are now consigned to the shadowy hell of non-history.
Nobody cares. And the killing goes on. As was remarked by a perceptive British army officer, Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, about the shambles the US military has created in Iraq, there is “a pre-disposition to offensive operations, and a sense that duty required all issues to be confronted head-on.” This is an unpalatable fact on which I have elaborated many times. But then “Colonel Kevin Benson, commander of the US Army’s elite School of Advanced Military Studies, said his first reaction was that Aylwin-Foster was ‘an insufferable British snob’.”
There was no attempt by this supposed military intellectual to counter Brigadier Foster’s observations with dignity or reasoned argument . The immediate response was to insult him. And the irony is that the British officer’s case is proved completely by the US military’s instinctive and vulgar response.
No wonder the killing of Iraqi and Afghan civilians continues with robo-gusto. The Fly Boys and Lie Boys can count on total support from an administration that is unfit to lead a great country. There can be no criticism of them in any way. Might is Right and truth must be denied. The advance of fascism is gaining pace.
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY writes on military and political affairs. He can be reached through his website www.briancloughley.com