Montecristo – Edited by Pandora Pushkin, Darkmoon.me March 16, 2012
The official line for the atrocity carried out in Kandahar has now been clearly established: a US soldier went off base alone in the night and proceeded to kill 16 civilians in a nearby village before setting fire to the bodies.
Tensions were already inflamed over the burning of the Quran by American soldiers, and following on from the revelation of “kill teams” collecting body parts as “trophies” and the leaked footage of troops urinating on dead Afghans.
The latest line from the US government on the killings has been to discuss at length the mental state of the gunman. Initially, he was described as being possibly “deranged” at the time of the shootings; then, it was stated that he had suffered a “mental breakdown”, yet another soldier from Fort Lewis-McChord to have buckled under the strain of warfare and gone on a killing spree — a considerably more common trait for US soldiers than their NATO allies.
Additional reports have since emerged pointing to a “traumatic brain injury”.
So far, nothing seems out of the ordinary with this narrative – until you include the eyewitnesses.
According to PakTribune: “One Afghan father who said his children were killed in the shooting spree accused soldiers of later burning the bodies.” Reuters were told by witnesses that “a group of US soldiers” arrived at the village and were responsible for the killings.
Resident Haji Samad said:
They [the Americans] poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them … I saw that all 11 of my relatives were killed, including my children and grandchildren.
A neighbour, Agha Lala, added, “They were all drunk and shooting all over the place.”
The official response from the US came shortly after: “Based on the preliminary information we have this account is flatly wrong,’ the official said. ‘We believe one US service member acted alone, not a group of U.S. soldiers.”
No information has been provided to refute the testimony of the eyewitnesses, who also described shots being fired from several directions.
As Afghan lawmaker Abdul Rahim Ayubi observed,
It is not possible for only one American soldier to come out of his base, kill a number of people far away, burn the bodies, go to another house and kill civilians there, then walk at least 2 kilometers and enter another house, kill civilians and burn them.
Local Panjwai councilman, Abdul Ghani, corroborated the unlikelihood of a single shooter, stating, “The villagers said they were hearing machine gun fire and pistol fire from different directions.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai to America: “You killed our children!”
While objectively-speaking the evidence would point towards multiple shooters, once again the media have taken the pronouncements of unnamed “US officials” as gospel truth.
The official line has been set in stone: in print and on the TV news channels.
As for the eyewitness accounts of drunken troops killing over a wider area, firing wildly, urinating on the dead bodies and then burning them—that, predictably, has been expunged from the record and gone down the Orwellian memory hole.
It never happened.
Based on this article By Andy Dilks.
Pandora Alexandrovna Pushkin is a Russian-American academic and human rights activist.