By Finian Cunningham — July 07, 2021 ” — “ICH”
Presented by Lasha Darkmoon with brief comments
“The real and only issue is to end all criminal US wars that are being waged in multiple countries simultaneously. American lawmakers and the American public need to realize that their government is guilty of war crimes, not just guilty of glossing over human horrors.” — Finian Cunningham
The Pentagon has been castigated for undercounting the deaths of civilians in its foreign military operations. That might seem like ethical criticism. But it’s woefully not enough. Ending illegal US wars should be the real focus.
Two US lawmakers have this week complained to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin over a Pentagon report which purports to account for civilians killed accidentally by American forces.
Representative Ro Hanna and Senator Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats, rebuked the Department of Defense (DoD) for minimizing the number of casualties. The lawmakers cite open sources that indicate the Pentagon underestimated deaths by a factor of five.
Calling for a further investigation into the Pentagon’s admissions, the lawmakers stated: “We need to openly consider all the costs, benefits, and consequences of military action, and that includes doing everything we can to prevent and respond to civilian harm.”
The Pentagon report in question is an annual accounting of civilian deaths caused by US forces in foreign operations. It claims that there were only 23 civilians killed during the year 2020 in military deployments across six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria.
It is by no means the first time that the Pentagon has been accused of underestimating its “collateral damage”. In a previous report for 2019, it claimed responsibility for 132 civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria whereas open-source figures put the death toll for the period at nearly 10 times higher.
On reading the latest US military report, it sounds like the epitome of legal probity and humanitarian scruples.
It states (page 5): “All DoD operations in 2020 were conducted in accordance with law of war requirements, including law of war protections for civilians, such as the fundamental principles of distinction and proportionality, and the requirement to take feasible precautions in planning and conducting attacks to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and other persons and objects protected from being made the object of an attack.”
However, to get hung up on the narrow issue about the exact number of unlawful killings inflicted by the American military, or on whether those deaths amount to war crimes or not, is to miss a much more important point. That is, the entire US military presence in these foreign countries is illegal and arguably amounts to the supreme war crime of aggression.
The Pentagon report admits to operations in just six countries. No doubt there are more nations where US covert forces are deployed. But let’s just take the six admitted to.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were the result of US lies and fabrications about the perpetrators of 9/11 and weapons of mass destruction. There was no justification for these wars which caused millions of deaths over a span of two decades. Doing an annual audit on civilian deaths is obscenely misplaced.
Those entire military operations were “permitted” by ad hoc US laws known as Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Under international law, the only foreign military deployments that are legitimate are those mandated by a right to self-defense from imminent attack, or by the UN Security Council, or by a request from an allied government for assistance. Arguably, the US launched its wars on Afghanistan and Iraq without meeting any of these criteria.
In the cases of Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria, the illegal presence of US forces is even more salient. The invocation of AUMF laws by Washington is grotesquely tenuous. It is simply a carte blanche to invade foreign nations and bomb at will. That is nothing less than aggression and state terrorism.
So, while Democratic lawmakers in the US may sound ethical in their criticism of the Pentagon over counting civilian casualties, their concern about “proper accounting” and “costs and benefits” is really a sham.
The real and only issue is to end all criminal US wars that are being waged in multiple countries simultaneously. American lawmakers and the American public need to realize that their government is guilty of war crimes, not just guilty of glossing over human horrors.
American leaders shouldn’t be receiving letters of complaint. They should be receiving warrants for prosecution over war crimes.
THE REMOTE CONTROL KILLER
ENDNOTE BY LD: The heroic Drone Warrior, invincible in his omnipotence, kills people in distant Third World countries while relaxing in his shirt sleeves at his keyboard: wedding parties, villagers shopping in market squares, women in hospitals having their babies, schoolchildren in their playgrounds—he kills them all without a qualm of conscience. He doesn’t stab you to death in a dark alley with a Florentine dagger. He presses a button on his keyboard and—PHDOOM!—entire families vanish in a puff of smoke.
The ultimate Keyboard Coward.
But shushh! you mustn’t say so! That wouldn’t be “woke”, would it? That would be hate speech. You can’t call this creep a coward. You’ve got to pretend this mass murderer is a bit like the Head Butcher in a slaughterhouse, doing a distasteful job that has to be done. A model citizen! He needs a pat on the back for keeping his nerve: relaxing in his spare time by collecting butterflies, teaching Boy Scouts how to pull up their socks, and cooking vegan sausages for the homeless in Salvation Army soup kitchens.
This is America’s so-called “war on terror”.
If they don’t get you with Covid-19, slowly and insidiously sapping the will to live among the old and vulnerable, huddled in their lonely rooms like caged animals with nothing to do all day except dull the ache of existence by watching toxic TV programmes, junk food for the mind intended to create a nation of zombies; if they can’t destroy the mental health of an entire generation of younger people by poisoning them with killer antidepressants, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling addiction, and turning them into masturbation machines with endless online pornography; if they can’t undermine the population slowly and systematically by mass demoralisation, hiking up the suicide rate, they will finally resort to indiscriminate mass murder, getting the police to gun you down in the streets with complete impunity.
This has happened in the past so many times that it would be the height of folly to say it will never happen again, and that a Golden Age of peace and plenty awaits us round the corner. Behold, I make all things new! Ah, if that were only the case right now! But no; Utopias are hard to find in Dante’s Inferno, in the seven circles of hell, which is where we are now on this Planet of Pain. As Aldous Huxley noted astutely many years ago, “Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.” [LD]
AMERICA: THE DOOM TO COME
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! . . . Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” — Isaiah, 14:12-15