Story of Inventing Insurgents Creates Allergic Reaction in the Press

I want to thank Liz Burbank for giving me the heads up on this story.

The stark but informative site is carrying a story with photos of how a Marine unit gathered the bodies of teenage boys from a soccer field, and rounded up nearby living teenaged boys, and posed them all with weapons that the Marines already had.

Before I riff a bit on this, let me suggest we cluster-blog these stories, or carpet-blog, whichever Air Force metaphor most suits you. Maximum distribution by linking and re-posting for those special stories that tear the mask off the real character of this war.

Those of us who spent time ‘humpin’ the boonies’ in Vietnam remember this practice very well. Inflating body counts, and transforming all the dead into enemy or “suspected” enemy. Anyone with an ounce of critical capacity and a gram of skepticism has figured this out about Iraq for a while now, but these stories that provide graphic evidence serve to overcome the more stubborn forms of denial and to open up the unwelcome discussion.

For those unschooled and inexperienced in war, and who have been exposed to a lifetime of television and film where “bad guys” always have poor marksmanship and “good guys” are Buffalo-fucking-Bill sharpshooters, where no one is ever stumbling under 50 pounds of LCE, tripping over rubble, falling into ditches, wheezing to catch their breath, firing suppressive fire around corners or over the lip of erosion ditches with no regard for bystanders, or “returning” fire in a general direction when they haven’t identified where shots came from (usually people fire wherever the first person who guesses out loud where the shots came from), and shooting each other in the confusion… people who have no experience of this plain, dumb, human confusion and fallibility in combat, they can be fooled by their own internalized images from those films where soldiers and cops are all highly-skilled, competent, atheletic, impervious to pain, and even well-read.

Ain’t so.

Moreover, these same people who have no real idea of the “banality of evil” as someone once called it, they don’t know much about human anatomy and how it interacts with the hazards of warfare – high velocity ammunition, shrapnel, explosive concussion, secondary missiles, and collapsing structures. The human body turns out to be a pretty durable thing that automatically fights to reproduce its own moment-to-moment vialibility. In any action, whether civilian or combatant, there are more people who are wounded than killed. Yet we never hear about “wounded” insurgents in these post-action tallies. And the press doesn’t ask these questions either, because the capitalist press is a sales-culture, inherently cowardly, and always seeking to offend the fewest people to hang onto market share, or standing on the sidelines at high-draw and lurid spectacles – like the Michael Jackson trial. They especially don’t want to offend advertisers or owners, who are often as not defense contractors, brokerage houses, and other such criminal elements.

But the other reality of war, and the one I am highlighting here with the able assistance of the linked story from Cryptome, is that bystanders always get beat up in urban combat actions worse than anyone, and are often attacked wihtout provocation because ot the trigger-happy paranoia and rage of the troops who are dropped into their cities – troops who are not unlike hornets screwed inside a Mason jar. What I am saying is that it is simply not possible that when 50 people are killed in one of these actions, that all 50 are “insurgents.” That’s an outrageous claim – on par with telling people that a piss-ant just ate a bale of hay – and the outrage is magnified by the fact that the press repeats these figures WITH THE UNQUESTIONED CLAIM that the dead (no wounded, mind you) were all “insurgents.”

After all the perfidy that has been exposed, not just this time around, but for decades and decades, from governments and from the military brass, the press still grants them the presumption of honesty. Yet they would have us believe that this so-called journalism is a “free press” checking and balancing power. And this is where people get fooled. They haven’t been sufficiently compelled to see the press for what it is, an apparatus of hegemony – an integral part of the ruling class system of population control, the self-policing drug… Soma is better than love, baby.

That’s why building these bypass media networks is so important. And they work… not as fast as we’d like, but they work.

And now we need to use them to break down this critical-lie. Critical-lies are lies that are essential to maintain the main fictions of empire. We have to systematically and relentlessly attack the lie that all the dead are insurgents, and we have to just as relentlessly beat down the capialist press – putting them on the defensive – about supporting this lie. We need to jam a pry-bar into this contradiction between image and reality and pull hard until we tear it off the hinges.

We can, too, because more each day, people are listening. They are tuning in.

See also:

Mark Kraft, Eyeballing the Buhriz Body Count

Kurt Nimmo, Mass Murder of Iraqi Teenagers in Buhriz?

Xymphora, Throw-down old news

US troops do kill Iraqi children

Mark Kraft answers to several comments