FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The War is Over, the War is Lost, Bring Them Home

 “Any person who…with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuses, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny.”

Article 94, Uniform Code of Military Justice

Military uprisings among the lower ranks have a long and fairly honorable tradition.   The famous mutinies include Bligh’s HMS Bounty, the Indian Sepoy rising, Russian battleship Potemkin, British sailors’ strike at Invergordon, and lesser known mass revolts by French infantry divisions at the failed “Nivelle offensive” in 1917, Port Chicago in 1944 by African-American sailors refusing to unload dangerous cargo, U.S. soldier strikes in the Pacific against General MacArthur, and of course widespread GI resistance in Vietnam that broke the back of the war.

Afghanistan is an army mutiny by another name  – on both sides.   In “green on green” killings, Afghan soldiers have been on a spree killing American and NATO soldiers.  Now an American sergeant, on his fourth combat tour, with previously diagnosed Transitory Brain Injury, has “gone postal” to murder 16 Afghans including women and nine children.

Yet the army doctors at the killer sergeant’s home base, Joint Fort Lewis-McChord, considered him “fit for combat duty” and as for his brain injury was “deemed to be fine.”

Fort Lewis-McChord, in Washington state, is notorious for its cruel handling of returned combat veterans.

Its forensic psychiatry unit at Madigan Medical Center had two doctors fired for mistreatment or otherwise ignoring soldier complaints.  The two included lead psychiatrist Dr William Keppler under whose leadership 285 diagnoses of PTSD were reversed because “we have to be good stewardships of the government’s money”.   Since 2010, 26 GIs from Fort Lewis-McChord committed suicide.   In this crisis of violence the command’s response was to lay off mental health caseworkers.

This latest GI mental explosion by the staff sergeant was preceded by increasing acts of American troop indiscipline – Marines pissing on Afghan bodies, the Koran-burning fiasco, units loudly cheering indiscriminate Hellfire drone attacks on a village, etc. – that an increasingly demoralized junior and midgrade officer corps has neither the ability nor will to stop.

The troops are protesting “by any other means” their entrapment in a no-win landscape where Washington politicians and career-crazy senior officers keep a war going beyond the limit of sanity.

It’s no stretch to suggest that GI suicides, domestic violence by returning soldiers and their self-harm by narcotics are a depoliticized form of protest against the same despair that was felt by General Westmoreland’s cannon fodder at Hue or World War One poilu at the Chemin des Dames allied massacre when they refused to fight any more.

The Afghani war is over.  Yet the President, his cheerfully on-message advisors, and most of the stenographic media refuse to call it a night when the situation on the ground, with its secret night raids and fuckedup soldiers, can only get much worse.  Mitt Romney, who never served and has five military-age sons likewise, wants to stay there presumably forever and fight it out.  Rick Santorum wants to hang in until “mission accomplished” whatever that is.  Yet even Newt Gingrich, from the militarized state of Georgia, says that “we have lost” in Afghanistan and “the mission is not doable”.

What are we waiting for, an engraved invitation to leave?  It will never come as long as Karzai and his crooks-in-government and our U.S. contracting corporations can keep milking the American taxpayer.

A Rand Corporation study estimated that one in five veterans of fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan suffers from major depression or PTSD.  After years of struggle, at last the public sees PTSD as a serious illness that must be attended to.  How long will it take us to recognize that what’s happening in Afghanistan is mutiny by another name?

Clancy Sigal is a novelist and screenwriter in Los Angeles. His most recent book is A Woman of Uncertain Character. He can be reached at clancy@jsasoc.com

More articles by:

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

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail