no third solution

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Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie…

July 6th, 2012

Since the Obama administration has twisted the definition of “enemy combatant” to include “anyone who’s close enough to get exploded by a US missile”, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see a video like this one, where some “heroes” from the 101st Airborne fire a missile at two people walking across the street. And then laugh about it while singing “American Pie”.

And then open fire machine guns on the first responders, which I’m pretty sure is a war crime.

Propaganda is often created to portray soldiers as doing a duty, and that they do not want or like to kill. That is probably true for many, even most soldiers, despite the desensitizing and dehumanizing training that is designed to encourage them otherwise.

“It’s almost impossible to act on your morality. . . . You remove the humanity from them — beat them — and in doing so you remove humanity from yourself.” — Carlos Mejia

It is pretty clear to me that these guys get off on killing. And anyone who gets off on killing is a sociopath, exactly the sort of person who should not be allowed anywhere near a sharp objects, let alone allowed to pilot or gun a fully armed Apache helicopter.

Is there another side to this story? Some secret that might otherwise justify stealth firing a missile at two men walking across the street? Maybe. Even if they’re justified in engaging actual enemy combatants isn’t it disturbing to see someone so callous about taking another life that they would laugh about it?

Just like the “good cop” meme, people will write this off as the uncontrollable actions of “a few bad apples”.  Well, this raises a host of questions about how the bad apples keep making their way in to the system in the first place, and why we only find out about their actions from “leak” sites (don’t the “good” guys want to get these cancers out of their ranks?). No. The fact of the matter is that are probably more bad apples who didn’t get caught and this isn’t an isolated incident.

The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

Even if the bad apples are a small minority, that makes it worse, because that means there is a large majority of “good” soldiers who look the other way when things like this, or Abu Ghraib, or the trophy killings, or the gang rapes, or the massacres, go down.

That makes them just as bad.

Depleted Uranium is a War Crime

July 27th, 2010

depleted uranium foreverI was going to include a picture or two, instead, go look for yourself: uranium deformities

The US military continues to use depleted uranium in tank armor, ordnance, anti-tank and/or armor-piercing rounds, small arms rounds, etc., despite the fact that DU turns ordinary weapons into radiological dirty bombs, (“They fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way,” says Marion Falk, who spent 20 years building nuclear bombs), much of which is “reduced to radioactive dust particles”.

For instance, during a three week period of conflict in 2003 in Iraq, coalition forces used between 1,000 and 2,000 tons of depleted uranium munitions against the Iraqis, mostly in cities.  Add that to a few hundred tons of DU which were dropped on Iraq during Gulf War I and you’ve got a 20-year recipe for disaster. Unfortunately its lethal efficacy ensures that the Military Industrial Complex will do everything within its power to keep the truth under wraps.

DU is highly valued by armies for its ability to punch through armored vehicles. When a weapon made with a DU tip or core strikes a solid object, like the side of a tank, it goes straight through it and then erupts in a burning cloud of vapor. The vapor settles as dust, which is chemically poisonous and also radioactive.” Q&A Depleted Uranium Weapons

One Major Douglas Rokke, a now outspoken critic and former military expert on DU argues that:

The harmful effects of DU exposure include respiratory and neurological problems, rashes, cancers, kidney and lung damage, joint and muscle pain, fibromyalgia, cataracts, memory loss, changes in the RNA in DNA, causing genetic birth defects, and a host of other conditions associated with exposure to heavy metal toxicity and radiation.

It should be noted that about 33% of the 700,000 US soldiers who fought in the first Gulf War now suffer from the ambiguously named “gulf war syndrome“. Rokke and Falk attribute the various maladies comprising GWS  to DU and/or chemical weapons exposure. What fraction of the Iraqi people suffer a similar fate?

A recent study indicates that Iraqis in the areas most heavily hit by depleted uranium during the current conflict suffer from cancer, leukemia, malformations and birth, infant mortality, and even cancer in adults at rates higher than the survivors in Hiroshima.

Dr Chris Busby said “to produce an effect like [are now seen in Fallujah], some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened”.

…while he cannot identify the type of armaments used by the Marines, the extent of genetic damage suffered by inhabitants suggests the use of uranium in some form. He said: “My guess is that they used a new weapon against buildings to break through walls and kill those inside.”

Researchers found a 38-fold increase in leukaemia, a ten-fold increase in female breast cancer and significant increases in lymphoma and brain tumours in adults.

Do you notice a pattern?  First, deny everything (as NATO did in Kosovo) and then later they deny or downplay the risks (like the US did with agent orange during and after the Vietnam war).  But the more information becomes available, the worse it looks, and the more it seems that the use of depleted uranium constitutes war crimes (a redundant expression, if there ever was one) is unlikely to cease any time soon.

no third solution

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