Thursday, 19 April 2012

G.I. chant—We love bodyparts!

Once again we are treated to cutesie cellphone pix of detached, Asian limbs being held up for Mom and Dad at home, and promptly the official apologies tumble out, tempered with assurances that these rambunctious kids, thought they used poor judgment, should not have done that, etc., etc., are mere rogue elements and surely not representative of our fighting men and women. But wait, the whole incident is also ‘being thoroughly investigated’. So if we are still conducting the investigation, how do we already know what it will reveal?

The Afghans don’t need Washington spinmeisters to tell them what is happening in their country in any case. But we do. A retired jughead named Bob Killibrew let the cat out of the bag last night on The News Hour when he admitted that the Pentagon’s real worry is what we here at home will think about the troops, the war and the whole sorry business.

‘This happened two years ago in a unit’, said Killibrew, ‘that I know from my own experience has high standards of leadership and training. So whatever happened, it was—it didn’t reflect on the unit’.

So that’s the answer: a really well trained and professional outfit is responsible, so even though members of said professional, well-trained unit committed these acts, their acts do not reflect on its training and professionalism. Logical! And incidentally, a complete reversal of the old-fashioned military code that higher-ups are responsible for the behavior of the troops they command.

Note also the reference, squeezed in several times by the retired general as part of his PR agenda, to the fact that the pictures are from 2010. So that’s all in the past except that—wait a minute—wasn’t it just a few months ago that other U.S. troops pissed all over some Afghan cadavers? And wasn’t there a deliberate massacre of a dozen civilians just weeks ago?

So here’s another theory for the military guys to pursue in their thorough investigation: maybe the spirit of revenge is afoot in their institution and has been from the start. Maybe the troops drink from the poisoned wells of 9/11, after which we were all browbeaten unceasingly to forget everything but our own victimhood and righteous retaliation. Best, of course, if those on the receiving end were found to be guilty of something, but if a few innocents ended up under the waterboard, dead or missing a few fingers, tough titties. Seen one Afghan body part, seen them all.

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