FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Who’s Watching Whose Back?

Last week’s farce of the court martial of Marine sergeant Frank Wuterich at Camp Pendleton, California is a license to murder.  Everyone, especially the Iraqis, seems to understand this except the American public from President Obama on down.  Wuterich led an eight-man combat team of Marines in a killing orgy in Haditha, western Iraq, in 2005, that massacred 24 unarmed civilians including 11 women and kids.   All witnesses, including the Marines, testified that what occurred was basically an execution not a fire fight.

Wuterich could have faced 152 years in the brig.  But under a plea deal, after a six year long investigation begun only when a Time magazine reporter began asking questions, and marked by a string of official lies, Wuterich was let off with a wrist slap, a reduction in rank and no prison time.  None of the other Marines will be punished.

All the members of Wuterich’s military court were chosen for prior combat experience because they presumably knew what the “fog of war” could do to a man under stress.  Thus, the issue became not one of guilt or innocence, or degree of culpability, but: what would you do in the boots of this fallible, frightened, angry Marine?

Under the current rules of engagement, dramatized a few days ago when Navy Seals daringly rescued two hostages, including an American woman, from Somali kidnappers who were shot down, anything is permissible if you feel yourself – or you later tell investigators – that you were under threat.

Obama loves his Seals, which is the same unit that killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.  In their fierce focus on mission, fanatic discipline, unit solidarity, tactical skills, mastery of killer weapons and courage, they are –  the President insists – what we civilians should ALL be like.

It’s no secret Obama has a crush on, or been intimidated by, his generals – all those ribbons, all that braid!   Allegedly they answer to their Commander in Chief rather than the reverse, but in reality he gives them pretty much everything they want, and glorifies their military adventures as the very best that America can do in the world.

Now he’s gone overboard, in his 25 January state of the union speech to both houses of Congress – and in an election year speaking over their heads to the rest of us.

Ritual flattery was to be expected.  But his fawning went over the line into real, hardass absurdity, starting with his opening, “We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.”   What world does Obama live in?

But then he got down to business by contrasting the greatness and glory of the military with our present, well, what shall we call it?, decay, disappointment, depravity of American democracy.  “At a time,” he thundered, “when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.”

Then the kicker: “Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example!”

Uh huh.  As a former conscript, who liked the military and almost re-upped, what I know best about this hierarchical, do-as-you’re-told organization is that it is, and is supposed to be, undemocratic and that you follow orders without question…or else. Messy, argumentative loudmouth democracy is not on Obama’s agenda, military quick-step is.  Or rather, his fantasy of military life, since he never served.  “They’re not consumed by personal ambition.   They don’t obsess over their differences.  They focus on the mission at hand…Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example…”

Yes, imagine.  A militarized civilian life is Obama-the-liberal’s Utopia?

Just a couple of days ago military helicopters hovered over downtown Los Angeles and San Fernando valley practicing for what nobody will tell us except, in a tightlipped police statement, “to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments”.  And the Blackhawks will be back soon, it’s promised.   Local police departments all over America are pressing the Federal Aviation Authority to relax rules to permit more domestic use of unmanned Reaper drones for “urban monitoring”; i.e. domestic surveillance.   Colorado and Miami-Dade police already use UAVs to catch alleged criminals…and, I assume, to spy on Occupy protestors.

No, it can’t be, not the Saul Alinsky disciple and antiwar liberal Obama moving us closer to the police state that fringe groups and politicians like Ron Paul have warned us about?

One reason why Obama said we should copy the military is that “you know that there’s someone behind you, watching your back.”

That’s what worries me.

CLANCY SIGAL is a novelist and screenwriter in Los Angeles. He can be reached at clancy@jsasoc.com

More articles by:

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 09, 2020
John Davis
Freedom Virus
Vincent Emanuele
The New Normal: Cascading and Multilayered Crises
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie’s Last Tape
John O'Kane
Remove the Boomer Virus and What Virus Remains?
Kevin Bixby – Daryl T. Smith
The Border Wall Risks Us All
Nick Pemberton
Could COVID-19 Count Fox News Among Its Victims?
Howard Lisnoff
American Exceptionalism in the Face of Covid-19
Charles Pierson
We Are Living (And Dying) in Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”
Sam Husseini
Sanders Suspends: What Happened? What Now?
Binoy Kampmark
Banal Terrors: Pandemics and the Ordinary Business of War
Ted Rall
Why We Need a New Progressive Party and How We Can Create It
Walden Bello
Martin Khor: the Making of a Global Activist
Ariel Dorfman
COVID-19 and the Lessons of Life in Exile
Merriam Ansara
John Lennon in Quarantine: a Letter From Havana
George Wuerthner
Politics and Corruption at Grand Canyon
Eugene Schulman
Lost in the Pandemic: the Forever Wars
Dean Baker
Basic Economics for Economic Columnists: a Depression is a Process, Not an Event
George Ochenski
The Dishonest Mr. Daines
Mike Ferner
Love in a Dangerous Time
Brian Horejsi
Beware Government Secrecy in Times of Pandemic
Sam Pizzigati
No Fennel in the Sausage, No $600 for the Jobless
Jason Christensen – John Carter
Conservation Groups Oppose the Nature Conservancy’s Cattle Grazing Development Project on the Border of Canyonlands National Park
April 08, 2020
Melvin Goodman
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Body Politic
Eve Ottenberg
Amid Plague, Sanctions are Genocide
Vijay Prashad, Du Xiaojun – Weiyan Zhu
How China Learned About SARS-CoV-2 in the Weeks Before the Global Pandemic
Bill Quigley
Seven Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana
Joyce Nelson
BlackRock Takes Command
Geoff Dutton
Coronavirus as Metaphor: It’s Not Peanuts
Richard Moser
From Strike Wave to General Strike
Gary Leupp
Could COVID-19 Kill Capitalism?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
Corona, Capital and Class in Germany
Tom Crofton
Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness is Getting More Radical
Steve Kelly
Montana Ballot Access Decision Suppresses Green Party Voters
Jacob Hornberger
Muhammad Ali’s Fight Against the Pentagon
Phil Mattera
The Rap Sheets of the Big Ventilator Producers
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19?
Rick Baum
When “Moderate” Democrats Lead the Ticket and Win, Down-Ballot Candidates Soon Suffer Losses
Jake Johnston
Tens of Millions Will Be Pushed into Poverty Amid COVID-Induced Recession
Kim C. Domenico
Healthy and Unhealthy Fear in the Age of Coronavirus
John W. Whitehead
Draconian Lockdown Powers and Civil Liberties
Binoy Kampmark
University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus
Luke Ruediger
BLM Timber Sale Increases Fire Risk, Reduces Climate Resilience and Harms Recreation
John Kendall Hawkins
Slavoj Žižek’s Virulent Polemic Against Covid-19, and Stuff!
Nyla Ali Khan
Finding Meaning and Purpose in Adversity
April 07, 2020
Joel McCleary – Mark Medish
Paradigm Shift by Pandemic
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail