Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Graphic Demonstration of How the U.S. Sabotages Its Own Efforts in Iraq

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Crooks and Liars has a video of a Humvee speeding and careening down a street in Iraq, rear-ending cars to force them out of the way, driving on the median, pedestrians racing across intersections to avoid being killed.

Why are the Americans driving this way? To avoid the very real possibility that if they drive at normal speed they will be killed or injured by an insurgent attack. But while they do what they have to do to stay alive, the anger and hatred of Iraqis who see that the American soldiers are indifferent to Iraqi lives continues to grow:

There is so much about this that bothers me. First, the very reality that the reason the Humvee driver is driving this way is because they are afraid of an attack if they slow down. Listen at the end of the video to the disdain one troop member expresses towards a pedestrian: "…as if he hasn't got a care in the world." Because these guys are aware that every day–every assignment–could be their last. Can you imagine what the constant state of stress like that has done to our troops, especially after two, three, four tours? And now with Bush's escalation, the likelihood that their tours will be extended again. PTSD doesn't begin to cover it. And yet, the Bush Adminstration has made it harder to get a diagnosis of PTSD and reduced vet benefits on top of that.

And then my thoughts go to the Iraqis. Can you imagine having your country occupied by another nation and be subjected to this kind of bullying behavior every day? Watch as the Humvee runs into car after car to force them to pull to the side and narrowly misses pedestrians. Is this the liberation we promised them? Are our actions in Iraq winning their hearts and minds to the benefits of a democracy?

As Adam said in the email with the link to this clip, "Is there a clearer indication that our presence in Iraq is hurting us?"

The right would like to pretend that scenes like this one are not happening on a daily basis. But they are happening -- and in their refusal to address it, supporters of Bush's troop "surge" are both undercutting their own support for the U.S. "winning" in Iraq and betraying the troops they claim to support so much.

Indeed, Nicole Belle expresses more compassion and sympathy for the troops in the quote above than all the right-wing bloggers put together have ever done.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Hey kathy!

This illustrates an example on how difficult it is to fight a war and treat both citizens and soliders on the other side in a way that we would like to see them treated. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Around the time of the 1980's the world was more hopeful about its ability to conduct wars and conflicts while keeping an ethical attitude towards the civilians in harm's way. This was the time people questioned the ethics of having a statue to honour Harris of Britian. Harris was in charge of the carpet bombing of Dresden during WW2. People were discussing how to avoid another mass internment as was done to the Americans and Canadians of Japanese ancestry. We recognized we had committed a terrible wrong and we seriously debated the ways to ensure such a thing would never happen again.

I remember a case where an American soldier shot a wounded Irai (I'm not sure if he was a soldier or an insurgent). The American soldier thought the Iraqi was faking his injuries to attack the group of Americans when they let their guard down. It turned out that the American had been shot in the face a few days previously and during that time one of his friends was killed. That certainly explained why the American soldier was so jumpy and uneasy. I never heard the disposition of the case and whether he was found guilty.

The reality is there is no way to protect citizens from the actions of soldiers who are trying to protect themselves and are themselves suffering from combat stress. What does this mean for the ethics of fighting wars? What does this mean about starting wars in the first place when we know there is no way to protect citizens from stressed out soldiers? I would sure like to see discussion on this issue.

Take Care