So, thanks to Wikileaks.org, Americans now know that their soldiers often gun down civilians in occupied countries during reckless missions based on little or no intelligence (in every sense of the word). This will no doubt come as a great shock -- yea, a veritable political earthquake -- in a land where the top commander in what is now its chief war just recently confessed that his troops were slaughtering an "amazing" number of civilians who posed no threat whatsoever.
We all recall the vast hue and cry that greeted this astounding admission by Afghan top gun General Stanley McChrystal, who was hand-picked by the Nobel Peace Laureate himself to lead America's noble crusade to stamp out Muslim extremism in Central Asia by killing innocent Muslims all over Central Asia. No less than the New York Times its own self reported prominently on McChrystal's chilling candor. To be exact, the "Good War" general told his troops, by videoconference:
“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat."
Remember how the Democrats in control of Congress rushed to set up special committees to investigate the murderous facts behind this admission of atrocity? Remember how the media went 24/7 on wall-to-wall coverage of the Potomac-churning aftermath of McChrystal's unprecedented mea culpa? Remember how the president himself held a special news conference to offer "America's sincere and shamed apology to the innocent victims we have killed so tragically in such amazing numbers"?
And hey, remember how just this weekend, the purple mountain majesties and fruited plains rang with howls of righteous rage when it was confirmed that American Special Forces troops really did kill three innocent women (along with two officials of the American-installed Afghan government) during a savage night raid on a compound of sleeping civilians in February? Remember how all the weekend TV talk shows were filled with America's great and good lining up to denounce the weeks and weeks of outright lies that the Pentagon had told about the killings? Remember how the Democrats in Congress, once again, launched a special committee of investigation into the charges by American-backed Afghan officials that the U.S. Special Forces troops had actually dug their bullets out of the bodies of the slaughtered women in order to cover their tracks after the massacre?
While I am certainly no prophet, I think I am safe in saying we will see a similar reaction to the gut-wrenching footage unearthed by Wikileaks. The American people are simply too good, too just to let stand such a foul besmirching of their national honor. After all, didn't they rise up as one after the Abu Ghraib atrocities were revealed in 2004, and boldly oust the architects of these crimes in the ensuing presidential election? Didn't they take to the streets in their millions when first Bush and then Obama claimed the right to have any citizen put to death without charges or trial simply by declaring the victim a "suspected terrorist"? Didn't a great groundswell of public ire force Congress to open impeachment proceedings against George Bush and Dick Cheney for their Soviet-style gulag of concentration camps and systematic tortures -- and threaten similar justice for Barack Obama's continuation and cover-up of this system? Didn't the American people demand a national day of mourning and atonement when they realized that hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis had been murdered in a war based on false pretenses and cynical manipulation?
So let us have faith in the American people. They have proven time and again in this last decade that they will not countenance crimes and atrocities being committed in their names. They will not abide leaders who unleash a war machine of blood money and blind fury against innocent people. When push comes to shove, when the truth is revealed to them, they will always -- always -- do the right thing.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on April 7, 2010.