Iraq is Arabic For Vietnam…

•11.18 • Comments Off on Iraq is Arabic For Vietnam…



US Democracy: Coming Soon to a Soverign Nation Near You

•06.18 • Leave a Comment

Click here to find out how many US troops are left in Afghanistan.

In June 2011 US President Barack Obama announced that 10,000 US troops would leave Afghanistan by the end of the year, and an additional 23,000 would leave by 2012. Drawing straight from LBJ’s playbook, the Obama administration plans on keeping up to 30,000+ troops in Afghanistan until 2024 (or indefinitely) in what the White House assures will be an “advisory” and not “combatant” capacity.*

With 20th century American foreign policy increasingly evolving  into full-fledged genocidal wars of attrition waged to save the country from its people, we now more than ever subscribe to destroying the village in order to save the village.  Over half a century has passed since the “Zippo raids” of Vietnam, and yet, as a nation, we proudly rewrite the history books and blindly parrot the talking heads (otherwise known as professional revisionist armchair historians) while engaging in a patriotic orgy of flag-sucking and blind loyalty to administration after administration that most of whom have already been tried and convicted as war criminals in International Criminal Courts and tribunals.

Continue reading ‘US Democracy: Coming Soon to a Soverign Nation Near You’

It Never Happened and Besides They Deserved It Anyway

•10.30 • Leave a Comment


The massacre of the rural population of Vietnam was not an accidental by-product of the war, but an intentional outcome of proposed and executed military strategy. This “deliberate destruction of a part of a national group” conforms to the definition of genocide as explained by the Geneva Convention.

In March 1968, under the command of Lieutenant William Calley, the agitated GIs of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division, embarked on a search and destroy mission in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai, a heavily mined area of Quang Ngai province that was deeply infiltrated by Viet Cong. In the preceding weeks, numerous members of Charlie Company had been killed and maimed by VC forces, leaving the troops, who were known for their particularly violent tactics, particularly incensed and resentful on March 16, 1968. The search and destroy mission quickly degenerated into the slaughter of more than 500 unarmed civilians, primarily women, children, and elderly.

Eyewitness accounts, including footage filmed by an accompanying army photographer, Ron Haeberle, betray particularly egregious atrocities committed against the unarmed villagers: American forces shot praying women and children, including babies, in the back of the head, girls were raped and then killed, and Lieutenant Calley herded an unarmed group of villagers into a ditch and sprayed them with machine gun fire. Orders were also given to raze the village. The carnage only stopped when an American Huey helicopter came to the rescue of the villagers – an army pilot, Hugh Thompson, landed his helicopter between the remaining villagers and the rampaging soldiers and subsequently ordered his gunner to open fire on any U.S. soldier who continued to attack the ravaged Vietnamese.

Unfortunately, these instances of slaughter perpetrated by American G.I.s are no longer unique to Vietnam. Once again, we’re witnessing US-perpetrated bloodbaths in which as many as fifty Iraqi civilians receive fatal injuries by overzealous American soldiers. Such was the involvement of the 82nd Airborne in the al-Fallujah slaughter on April 28, 2003 and April 30, 2003. Not unlike Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division, the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne were still reeling from the multiple casualties they had suffered earlier in the day when they received orders to provide crowd-control and law enforcement in al-Fallujah, a Sunni stronghold that was not sympathetic to the American occupation. Sunni resentment towards the uninvited Americans culminated in a peaceful demonstration, when, according to Second Lt. Wesley Davidson, US soldiers, attempting to disperse the crowd, threw a smoke canister at the protesters. Moments later, US troops open fire on the crowds of people. Witnesses reported being unable to reach the blood-soaked incapacitated civilians laying in the street. Ambulance driver Jum`a `Abid Muthin recalls shouting, “We’re an ambulance!” and [the U.S. soldiers] said ’Go away!’ They shot in the air.”

While the intentions of the U.S. soldiers in denying passage to the ambulances is unclear, this should be part of the investigation. Under international humanitarian law U.S. soldiers had an obligation to allow the wounded access to medical care as soon as practicable.

In spite of repeated claims by the US military that the 82nd Airborne Division came under heavy fire that day, Human Rights Watch could find no evidence to support this claim – the recovered machine gun rounds, coupled with the absence of ballistic evidence that could support the United States’ official version of events, suggest that American troops opened fire on unarmed Iraqis when the crowd became confrontational – investigators found extensive physical evidence that suggests the Iraqis had thrown rocks at the US soldiers, which more than likely precipitated the gunfire.

Two days following the al-Fallujah bloodbath, Sunni protesters gathered to protest the American occupation – particularly the occupation of their town – when a six-vehicle US military convoy en-route to al-Ramadi was “struck with a rock, hitting a soldier in the head. Another soldier lost a tooth. The lead vehicle shot a warning shot into the air,” at which time the trail vehicle opened fire on the crowds of people, killing three and wounding at least sixteen.

An unidentified American soldier justifies his use of deadly force. “We’ve been sitting here taking fire for three days. It was enough to get your nerves wracked. When they [protesters] marched down the road and started shooting at the compound there was nothing for us to do but defend ourselves.”

In a since-declassified document, military command expresses serious concerns about the inherent nature of the dual-role that the “average soldier” must adopt:

“The soldiers have been asked to go from killing the enemy to protecting and interacting, and back to killing again. The constant shift in mental posture greatly complicates things for the average soldier. The soldiers are blurred and confused about the rules of engagement, which continues to raise questions, and issues about force protection while at checkpoints and conducting patrols.

“How does the soldier know exactly what the rule of engagement is? Soldiers who have just conducted combat against dark skinned personnel wearing civilian clothes have difficulty trusting dark skinned personnel wearing civilian clothes.”

US soldiers can be equally arrogant and abusive in Iraq: Iraqis and foreign troops frequently witness US soldiers’ “highly insulting” behavior towards Iraqi civilians, which ranges from putting their feet on the heads of Iraqi detainees to searching, groping, and sexually assaulting female Iraqis, all culturally unacceptable [and highly offensive] acts.

Vietnam veterans identified with Calley’s blatant hostility towards the villagers. Former marine Tim O’Brian recalls, “After all the frustrations that we had been through, I understood the frustrations that were felt by Calley. This isn’t to excuse his behavior. I thought it was wrong and I still do…but at the same time, here was a guy who had watched friends die. We didn’t kill people in My Lai, our element did.”

After repeated cover-ups, the army ultimately scapegoated Calley, who was charged with 109 counts of murder and convicted in a court martial. Vietnam GIs expressed particular contempt for the verdict against Calley: former Marine master sergeant Stanley Gertner explained, “If this man is guilty, he is guilty for the same thing we did. We shot up villages under orders and killed countless civilians.” The responsibility for My Lai, in fact, went straight up the chain of command: Captain Ernest Medina, Lieutenant Calley’s immediate superior, issued Calley direct orders to “waste the village.”

Perhaps the most sinister ramification of the My Lai massacre was the shift in America’s public consciousness; suddenly Americans willingly entertained the possibility that the My Lai massacre was not an aberration or anomaly but rather (acceptable) standard operating procedure.

A U.S. Special Forces soldier recalls:

“I knew a couple of cases where it was suggested by Special Forces that Viet Cong prisoners be killed. The way the transmissions went with the base camp you knew what they wanted you to do – get rid of them. I wouldn’t do that…and a major told me, “You know, we almost told you right over the phone to do them in.”

“I said that I was glad he didn’t, because it would have been embarrassing to refuse to do it…The major said, ”Oh, you wouldn’t have had to do it; all you had to do was turn them over to the [North] Vietnamese.”

“Of course, this is supposed to absolve you of any responsibility. This is the general attitude. It’s really a left-handed morality. Very few of the Special Forces guys had any qualms about this. Damn few.”

Killing Them Softly

•05.01 • Comments Off on Killing Them Softly


Over the course of the Vietnam War, the United States dropped tens of thousands of tons of napalm, carrying out a defoliation effort over an area larger than the size of the state of Massachusetts. The bombing far exceeded that of the Korean War or of World War II. The number of Vietnamese civilians killed numbers in the millions. “I used it routinely in Vietnam,” said retired Marine Lt. Gen. Bernard Trainor, now a prominent defense analyst. “I have no moral compunction against using it. It’s just another weapon.”

Sadly, we have not seen the last days of dropping napalm on peaceful civilian populations: in March 2003, Marines confirmed that they had repeatedly dropped napalm on Iraqi troops. One instance in March 2003 was witnessed by reporters from CNN and Sydney Morning Herald:

Marine Cobra helicopter gunships firing Hellfire missiles swept in low from the south. Then the marine howitzers, with a range of 30 kilometres [sic], opened a sustained barrage over the next eight hours. They were supported by US Navy aircraft which dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives and napalm, a US officer told the Herald.

Safwan Hill went up in a huge fireball and the Iraqi observation post was obliterated. “I pity anybody who’s in there,” a marine sergeant said. “We told them to surrender.” [1]

The US military has in its current arsenal a modern form of napalm known as the MK-77 Mod 5, which evolved from the M-47 and M-74 napalm bombs used in Vietnam. Acting in violation of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. has used during the course of its occupation of Iraq white phosphorous, napalm, and cluster bombs.

“We napalmed both those [bridge] approaches,” said Colonel James Alles. “Unfortunately there were people there … you could see them in the [cockpit] video. They were Iraqi soldiers. It’s no great way to die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect.” [2]

”It comes across the radio as a general transmission, when it happens like that, you hear it on the radio…as they’d say, ”In five mikes, we’re going to drop some willy pete. Roger. Commence the bombing.” When you hear willy pete,’ that’s military slang [for white phosphorous].” [3]

“Most of the world understands that napalm and incendiaries are a horrible, horrible weapon,” said Robert Musil, director of the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility. “It takes up an awful lot of medical resources. It creates horrible wounds.” [4] Musil noted that the Pentagon’s initial denial of its use of napalm “fits a pattern of deception [by the US administration].”[5]

Vietnam veteran Thomas Brinson, who fought in the 1968 Tet Offensive, dryly observes, “Iraq is just Arabic for Vietnam, like the poster says – the same horror, the same tears.”

The 1980 UN Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (Protocol III) banned the use of napalm.

[1] Murdoch, Lindsay. “Dead Bodies Are Everywhere.” Sydney Morning Herald, March 22, 2003. < >.

[2] Buncombe, Andrew. “Incendiary Weapons: The Big White Lie.” The Independent/UK, November 17, 2005. < >.

[3] Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre.

[4] Buncombe, Andrew. “Incendiary Weapons: The Big White Lie.” The Independent/UK, November 17, 2005. < >.

[5] “The Pentagon subsequently issued a statement to the Herald: ‘Your story (‘Dead bodies everywhere’, by Lindsay Murdoch, March 22, 2003) claiming US forces are using napalm in Iraq, is patently false. The US took napalm out of service in the early 1970s. We completed destruction of our last batch of napalm on April 4, 2001, and no longer maintain any stocks of napalm. – Jeff A. Davis, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.’ ” (Murdoch, Lindsay. “Dead Bodies Are Everywhere.” Sydney Morning Herald, March 22, 2003).

•06.29 • Comments Off on

Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience…therefore [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.

–Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950

•10.29 • Leave a Comment


The Legacy of Kent State

•08.01 • Comments Off on The Legacy of Kent State


Kent State: An Intentional Massacre

According to court documents, at least twenty-eight Ohio National Guardsmen fired at least sixty-one shots in thirteen seconds on May 4, 1970 at Kent State University. The legitimacy of the guardsmen’s use of lethal force has been a hotly debated issue…until now. Many historians and journalists have believed that the inexperienced Guard members panicked, but a recently uncovered audio recording of the incident clearly disputes that theory.

The thirty-seven year-old audio, recently discovered in a government archive, leaves little room for doubt: “Right here. Get set. Point. Fire.” The commanding officers have rigorously denied issuing a verbal command to fire, instead placing the blame on the inexperienced triggermen.

The legacy of the Kent State massacre, deemed the Dien Bien Phu of American involvement in Vietnam, brought the war home, marking the birth of an era David Halberstam described as “us against us.” The ideological ramifications of the newly discovered audio tape are significant, both in the context of the legacy of Kent State and the politics of memory. (cont’d)