Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

05 April, 2010

Military Covers Up More Fiascoes

Glenn Greenwald has a great post today called "How Americans are propagandized about Afghanistan". In it he describes how the mainstream media covered an incident which took place on 12 February of this year in which Iraqi civilians were killed outside a home where the celebration of a new birth was ongoing. Two men, two women (both of whom were pregnant), and a teenage girl were all slaughtered.

The Pentagon then issued a statement claiming that (a) the dead males were "insurgents" or terrorists, (b) the bodies of the three women had been found by U.S. forces bound and gagged inside the home, and (c) suggested that the women had already been killed by the time the U.S. had arrived, likely the victim of "honor killings" by the Taliban militants killed in the attack. Fiascoes

Although numerous witnesses on the scene as well as local investigators vehemently disputed the Pentagon's version, and insisted that all of the dead (including the women) were civilians and were killed by U.S. forces, the American media largely adopted the Pentagon's version, often without any questions. But enough evidence has now emerged disproving those claims such that the Pentagon was forced yesterday to admit that their original version was totally false and that it was U.S. troops who killed the women…


This is the New York Times article which documents the Pentagon's 180. But, when the incident happened in February, the NYT simply echoed the official line of the Pentagon that the men who were killed were bad guys and the women their victims. Instead it was a NATO coverup and afterwards the United States offered the victims' families $2,000 per death. Is this how to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people?

For too many of us such incidents are simply what fellow Madisonian Gregory Humphrey calls "realities on the ground", a phrase steeped in that kind of political language which Orwell noted "makes murder respectable". They rally behind a daddy figures like Gen. Stanley McChrystal when he says we need to really hit the insurgents but ignore him when he notes that in regard to U.S. soldiers killing locals at checkpoints in Afghanistan "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

Concomitant to this is a video from 2007 showing an Apache helicopter opening up on a group of ostensibly peaceful civilians in Iraq, including two Reuters journalists. You can watch the realities on the ground as they are murdered in cold blood. And, of course, our government did its best to sell the story that it is blameless.



Again, way to win the hearts and minds over there. If you were a friend or relative of any of the above people who were killed would you be welcoming of our troops in your country?

Lastly, did anyone notice the flags around town at half-staff last Monday? They were that way in honor of this man:



Army Spc. Robert Rieckhoff of Kenosha was killed in Iraq last month. R.I.P.

ADDENDUM: From Boing Boing, a look at CNN's webpage v. Al Jazeera's when this story broke here. iPad vs. military cover-up. Guess who ran with the iPad.
|| Palmer, 3:26 PM

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