Thursday, October 20, 2005

American Desecration of the Iraqi Dead

It is said that the stress of warfare will reduce a man to an animal, given enough time and fear.

I guess that's where some of our soldiers find themselves today:

From today's New York Times: American Desecration of the Dead

It's hard to know what to say in the face of this type of news (other than Thank you Australian Broadcasting Company, for showing what we all know would never have been shown here by our own ABC if the foreign media hadn't made it impossible to hide first). It was bad enough that they set fire to the corpses, a practice forbidden in Islam. But to read that they chose to do so deliberately facing the bodies away from Mecca, and then taunted the enemy with fact as propaganda, sends chills down my spine.

We claim to mock al Qaeda's assertions of jihad and holy war, and there is a lot that is worthy of mocking truthfully, since the Quran is far less warmongering than those folks claiming to act in its name (just as the Bible historically has diverged from the idjits who have waged Christian holy war). But in a civilized world, there has always been a limit - and at least one of those limits was in the area of the dead. yet our own troops are screwing with the dead - revered in all cultures -- just to say "fuck you" to the religion of Islam, practiced by billions world-wide?

I don't think so.

This is not the first time that the United States military has descended into vicious bloody-jawed bacchanalia over the image of the "enemy dead." I still vividly see the front-page photographs of the dead faces of Qusay and Uday Hussein that were splashed over our front page media - and remember the jubilance that was associated with those images. Perhaps that's when we crossed the line. Perhaps those photos were what desensitized folks enough where they became perpetrators of abuse at Abu Ghraib. Perhaps the sick fucks who desecrated corpses laid facing their holy land saw both as their personal equivalent of the Lynndie England "thumbs up."

Or maybe it was just the mindless, chickenshit, tactics of a conventional army who, as Malcolm X said 40 years ago, is so incapable of understanding and successfully ighting a guerrilla warfare that they were reduced to playing "neener neener" with dead bodies just so their opponents would make their presence known?

In the interview with the producers, Mr. Dupont explained that the American soldiers had been trying to bait the Taliban fighters to shoot at them. "They want the Taliban to fight them because they can't find them otherwise."

That's some sad shit, there, if true. And if it is, why don't we just pack it in and come on home if the only way we have to even confront our so-called enemy is to become barbarians? All fancy weaponry aside, we've been outclassed if we can do no better in the theatre than to taunt our opponents like children using the dead -- formerly sacred to all cultures -- as bait. That type of behavior went out when druids were still sent out in advance to taunt ancient enemy armies with their magic, I thought.

Of course we all know the whitewash is coming:

"This command takes all allegations of misconduct or inappropriate behavior seriously," Maj. Gen. Jason K. Kamiya, the American commander of daily tactical operations in Afghanistan, said in a separate statement issued by the Central Command. "If the allegation is substantiated, the appropriate course of action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and corrective action will be taken."

General Kamiya continued, "This command does not condone the mistreatment of enemy combatants or the desecration of their religious and cultural beliefs."

Sure we don't. That's why the propagandists were out equating Abu Ghraib to a college hazing, right? That's why the only persons to have taken a dive for what has become the US's default policy of abuse were a poor, stupid, young woman in love with a superior officer and similarly low-level lackeys, right?

Anyone who knows anything about history knows that millions have died over the centuries over religion. Religious belief has spurred and maintained more brutal, take-no-prisoners warfare in the world than is imaginable, sometimes. Yet here are our soldiers, troops from a nation that supposedly is beyond all that, deliberately taunting the enemy about the strength of its religious beliefs using the one thing that used to be sacred even in wartime: the bodies of the fallen. I can already see the headlines when, once again, just as they did last year over the news that at Guantanamo Bay the Quran itself was being desecrated, Muslims all over the world rise up in protest to call the United States the heathens, the barbarians, that this type of incident says we are.

And what will we say in response, this time After all, not everything can continue to be an "unfortunate exception". At some point exceptions become the rule.


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