The U.S. Empire is the Bad Apple by Cindy Sheehan
On Sunday, I think many of us were shocked at the news of a U.S. soldier who went on a violent, unprovoked rampage against civilians in Panjwai district. Details are slowly emerging that this soldier had a mild brain injury, was on his 4th deployment (three in Iraq, and this one in Afghanistan, which began in December), and was having marital difficulties. There are millions of us who have had health problems and have struggled simultaneously with marital problems, or other stressors in a capitalist society, and who do not subsequently slaughter 16 people, so I am not excusing the soldier's behavior.
This is the part of the story that I find most moving:
The soldier entered the home of Samid Khan and killed 11 of his family members, including four little girls, six years and younger. Samid and one of his children, a son, were spared because they were away from the village at the time.
First of all, what kind of sick monster enters a home and slaughters little girls while they sleep? 85% of Samid’s family was massacred that night. The U.S. military had given this soldier mental health clearance and a clean bill of physical health to be redeployed for a 4th time to a war zone. Former U.S. SecDef, Donald Rumsfeld, famously and arrogantly claimed while visiting troops in Kuwait: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.” Well, if this is an example of the “Army we have,” then we better get our asses home and in a just country, Rumsfeld would be occupying a cell at Leavenworth, himself.
The four little sisters were not even born on 9/11, when the U.S. rushed to war in the future
country of their birth to go after one man that may, or may not have been involved in that attack. One by one the sisters were born into a war-torn nation that would be home to them for such a short time, in what I am sure was a rough and precarious existence. Yet, the sisters became the latest victims of yet another “Bad Apple” in the huge cesspool of Bad Apples that rape their fellow female troops, urinate on dead people, burn holy books, torture prisoners, bomb wedding parties, pilot drones carrying hellfire missiles from thousands of miles away, etc, etc, etc.
Even though I do think the soldier who perpetrated these acts of mass murder needs to be held to account, I think the mega Bad Apples who sent him there and refuse to even reconsider the “mission” need to have their heads on the proverbial chopping block, too.
“This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.”
Obama’s statement should ring hollow to those of us who have been hearing such statements our entire lives in one manifestation of barbarism or the other. In fact, Obama is contemplating other acts of Bad Appleism as we speak and cannot be let off the hook, either.
As activists who called for complete, total, immediate and unconditional withdrawal while Bush was president we should be doing the same with a Democrat as Bad Apple in Chief.
How much more evidence do we need that Democratic wars are just as pervasive, wrong and deadly as Republican wars?
My thoughts: MISSION FORGOTTEN
I've not even addressed this issue because it was too much. The heartbreak of thinking about parents losing innocent children/people, gunned down while sleeping. The soldier on his 4th tour of duty, and the "system" that allowed him to wander off the base with 2 guns in the middle of the night, to do the unthinkable.
Of course now the military worries aloud that such an incident "puts the troops at greater risk", like as if being in these endless wars was never a bad or risky idea in the first place.
Oh darn, they were just working out plans for a long term US presence in Afghanistan.
We get involved in this war business (for the profiteers), and frankly don't even remember the original mission, a decade later. Oh right, this was to get Osama bin Laden- revenge for 9-11. But even under the Bush 2 regime (he started it), he declared he was not that interested in finding bin Laden anymore.... but yet the Afghanistan war dragged on. Since then, we supposedly got & killed bin Laden, but again- mission forgotten.
Revenge for 9-11 had ultimately been achieved, but there was no Mission Accomplished photo op celebration, the war in Afghanistan would just keep on going.
We were busy, dropping bombs from drone planes in Pakistan & Afghanistan. Trying to wrap up the war in Iraq, getting involved in a new war in Libya, and finding ways to have a war with Iran.
Sheehan nailed it by saying it is not just a "bad apple soldier", but the rotten apples that keep the wars going, that put soldiers in 4 tours of duty. They pay lip service to PTSD, but it is still something with a stigma, and only considered "real" when a soldier goes off the deep end.
When President Obama took office, these became his wars. He chose to continue, to escalate, and perpetuate war. There was even a convoluted statement delivered by Sec. of State H. Clinton-- saying"the incident does not change America's steadfast dedication to protecting the Afghan people and to help build a strong and stable Afghanistan."
If this is "protection" & "strength & stability building", the people of Afghanistan have every right to demand the U.S. troops get out of Afghanistan immediately. Protection and stability? Who does she think she's fooling? If a picture says a thousand words, then seeing partially charred children, wrapped in their blankets, lifeless in the back of a truck says it all.
Our Nobel Peace prize winning president cannot apologize or excuse his way out of this.
There is no justification, and as Sheenan said, there is not just one bad apple.