Archive for December 15th, 2011
Many of us have wondered what really happened to the Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha.Look what was accidentally left behind in Iraq, as reported by the New York Times: Interview transcripts describing the conduct of American soldiers serving in Iraq.
One question these interrogation transcripts raise is why these sorts of documents should have ever be considered classified. Their disclosure illustrates the abject immorality of the Iraq occupation, rather than revealing any particular strategy or tactics. Thus, it would appear that they were kept secret in order to help pretend that the United States does not do the sorts of horrific things that it does. Until their recent disclosure, the secrecy allowed us to maintain that the United States is the “greatest country in the world” regardless of the facts.
But the accounts are just as striking for what they reveal about the extraordinary strains on the soldiers who were assigned here, their frustrations and their frequently painful encounters with a population they did not understand. In their own words, the report documents the dehumanizing nature of this war, where Marines came to view 20 dead civilians as not “remarkable,” but as routine. Iraqi civilians were being killed all the time. Maj. Gen. Steve Johnson, the commander of American forces in Anbar, in his own testimony, described it as “a cost of doing business.”
Why aren’t similar records being maintained and disclosed to the public?
[Maj. Gen. Thomas Richardson]said that over the course of several weeks he had burned dozens and dozens of binders, turning more untold stories about the war into ash.
“What can we do with them?” the attendant said. “These things are worthless to us, but we understand they are important and it is better to burn them to protect the Americans. If they are leaving, it must mean their work here is done.”
In your name and my name they carried on this war under false pretenses. In your name and my name they keep atrocities secret.
Jonathan Turley sums up the problem:
Obama has now again betrayed the civil liberties community and lifted the threat of the veto. Americans will now be subject to indefinite detention without trial in federal courts in a measure supported by both Democrats and Republicans. . . This leave Ron Paul as the only candidate in the presidential campaign fighting the bill and generally advocating civil liberties as a rallying point for his campaign. Paul offered another strong argument against the Patriot Act and other expansions of police powers in his last debate. He also noted that the Patriot Act provisions were long advocated before 9-11, which was used as an opportunity to expand police powers. As discussed in a prior column, Obama has destroyed the civil liberties movement in the United States and has convinced many liberals to fight for an Administration that blocked torture prosecutions, expanded warrantless surveillance, continued military tribunals, killed Americans on the sole authority of the President, and other core violations of civil liberties.