FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

No Good Men Left Here

We already know enough from the Wikileaks Afghan archives to conclude that the news of the so-called “Kill Team” in Afghanistan – twelve US Army soldiers wantonly murdering and mutilating Afghan civilians – is no news at all.  It is the norm of empire.   It is the monstrous quotidian.  Certainly there are many more instances like it that will never come to light.

The soldier who first revealed the predations of the Kill Team, in a post to his parents on Facebook, writes of Afghanistan that “There are no good men left here.  It eats away at my conscience every day.”  Would that it ate at his fellow Americans.   The Team’s work, after all, is ours, paid for by us, abetted by our silence and our receivables, sanctioned by our standing up nowhere to be seen in opposition to a government that renders barbarism as statesmanship.  The work, to be sure, consisted of that for which the Team was well-trained, their minds at ease for the labor, the empire having asked of them only to oil their muscles and derange their hearts enough to put into action the deranged policy programmed by the higher-ups behind the laptops and in the lounge chairs.  That all war creates victims of soldiers, victimized by their own governments, is forgotten, yet it should be the axiom of the age.

If the Kill Team is guilty of what we’re told, then how judge them?   The twelve soldiers now charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy, and “possessing human body parts” were said to have slaughtered innocent men, exploding their bodies with grenades or gunning them down, then laying into the dead flesh with knives.  They collected as keepsakes the fingerbones, leg bones, teeth; one soldier carried off an Afghan skull as thanks for the memories.

They are guilty only of bringing the policy to its logical conclusion.  The policy is lunatic. It has no purpose beyond its own justification, which is that it must succeed because it is our policy.  It cannot succeed because it entails the subjugation of a fractious tribal people who have shown to history again and again that they will not be subjugated.   The lunacy of the policy has its predictable effect on the troops who are meant to enforce it.  Leaping on corpses to take scalps seems the natural course, the meaningful act in a meaningless affair, the occupation of Afghanistan finally making a twisted sense, freed of the hypocrisies of the political class.   We are there with guns to kill other human beings, the corpses as totems of victory – the people subjugated at last! – an accomplishment where there is no victory to be had.

Godspeed, and more please.  Or so we are to interpret the message from Congress, whose members, our very own representative kill team, year after year vote the appropriations for the continuing of the lunacy.  The real kill team, of course, is in the White House, under the leadership of a Democratic president who, it’s clear by now, is covertly serving out George W. Bush’s third term in office.  The kill team is an executive and its minions   asserting the right of assassination of any person deemed fit, the Joint Chiefs of Staff drawing up “hit lists” that include American citizens, the Obama Administration expressly authorizing the CIA to bring down the death sentence on its select targets in the manner of a thunderbolt from the skies – no arrest, no charges, no trial, no defense, no prosecution, no process.

The same day the story of our centurions collecting fingerbones in Afghanistan hit the pages of the press, we might have looked to find the Ninth Circuit court, in its own way, educating the faithful soldiers in what is right and what is wrong.  The circuit had ruled that the Obama Administration shall be free to continue the torture of human beings under cover of law.  The case, Binyam Mohamed vs. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. – the defendant, a subsidiary of Boeing, contracts to provide the critical flight planning and logistical support for the CIA’s “extraordinary renditions” – was brought by the ACLU on behalf of five victims of torture.  The victims, innocents all, attested that under the watch of the CIA and their other “extraordinary” handlers, they were beaten, their bones broken, their penises cut open, a “hot stinging liquid” poured into the open wounds, bottles pushed into their anuses, their arms shackled as they were hung from ceilings.   At least one of them was placed for a month in a room with open sewage.

Barack Obama, following the lead of his predecessor, saw nothing wrong here, no need for truth or reconciliation or, god forbid, an apology, instead intervening in the case to prevent whatever “state secrets” the full hearing of the matter might reveal.   And the Ninth Circuit dutifully decided in favor of the secrets to be kept.  The court’s work is also, needless to say, part of the kill team.  “There are no good men left here.”

CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM, a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY, is writing a book about secession movements. Contact him at cketcham99@mindspring.com.

More articles by:

Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer.  You can write him at cketcham99@mindspring.com or see more of his work at christopherketcham.com.

April 26, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
As Trump Berates Iran, His Options are Limited
Daniel Warner
From May 1968 to May 2018: Politics and Student Strikes
Simone Chun – Kevin Martin
Diplomacy in Korea and the Hope It Inspires
George Wuerthner
The Attack on Wilderness From Environmentalists
CJ Hopkins
The League of Assad-Loving Conspiracy Theorists
Richard Schuberth
“MeToo” and the Liberation of Sex
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Sacred Assemblies in Baghdad
Dean Baker
Exonerating Bad Economic Policy for Trump’s Win
Vern Loomis
The 17 Gun Salute
Gary Leupp
What It Means When the U.S. President Conspicuously and Publicly Removes a Speck of Dandruff from the French President’s Lapel
Robby Sherwin
The Hat
April 25, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Selective Outrage
Dan Kovalik
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
Joseph Essertier
The Abductees of Japan and Korea
Ramzy Baroud
The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago
W. T. Whitney
Imprisoned FARC Leader Faces Extradition: Still No Peace in Colombia
Manuel E. Yepe
Washington’s Attack on Syria Was a Mockery of the World
John White
My Silent Pain for Toronto and the World
Dean Baker
Bad Projections: the Federal Reserve, the IMF and Unemployment
David Schultz
Why Donald Trump Should Not be Allowed to Pardon Michael Cohen, His Friends, or Family Members
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Binoy Kampmark
Enoch Powell: Blood Speeches and Anniversaries
Frank Scott
Weapons and Walls
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail