#12 For Those Who Defend the Killing
Originally published on November 17, 2004
FOR THOSE WHO WOULD DEFEND THE KILLING . . . .
A LETTER FROM ALBERT DOYLE
In some ways I feel sorry for the young Marine caught on a news film shooting a wounded Iraqi prisoner. The Marine is the product of a system which taught him to kill. His job is to kill the enemy and we have heard his leaders, from the White House down to the local commanders, boasting about how we were going to kill those insurgents in Fallujah. He has learned well to hate the enemy like all good soldiers.
Like all young soldiers in that environment. ..he’s scared. He’s scared of getting killed or wounded himself. And this urban warfare is not the WWII set-piece stuff our media likes to report. Furthermore the US military doctrine for fighting these days is to shoot first, with overwhelming power. (We can’t estimate the number of civilians killed because we are not concerned about that, although we are sorry!)
So, yes, I feel sorry for him because he’s going to be the scapegoat for the higher ups who taught him to kill. After all, these opponents of our invasion are all “terrorists”. We must not let the thought cross our minds that they are resisting the invasion of their country. Heaven forbid! We are God’s messengers. The bringers of democracy! Our leaders told us so. Sound familiar? Like Abu Ghraib?
I have heard some pathetic excuses for the shooting of the wounded prisoner on TV tonight. No need to go into details. I can’t help think that they might apply to shooting our wounded too, under similar circumstances, but no one mentions that.
I suggest that those who want to accept that “it happens in war” ask themselves the following questions, which I admit range a field:
– For those who would defend the killing, would you accept the same thing if an American soldier were the victim of the enemy?
– Do you think this was a single incident, or do you think it likely happened to other Iraqi wounded (although not caught on TV)? (Hint: If so, I think you are naive. There is even a hint in the video that these wounded were mistreated before.)
– Do you think it will help to convince the ordinary people of Iraq that we are noble fellows, bringing democracy to Iraq? Or will it recruit more opponents? Did Iraqis pretty much know what was going on without being advised by TV?
– Do you think the Iraqi elections scheduled for January will be honest, or will they be rigged for the result we wish, or if this can’t be assured, postponed?
– Is this related in any way to the Israeli problem of dealing with the post-Arafat Palestinians?
– Does the clean-out of the CIA have anything to do with their leaking their defense against being blamed for the “weapons of mass destruction” lies by the Bush administration?
“For those who would defend the killing, would you accept the same thing if an American soldier were the victim of the enemy?”
Oddly, I wrote about this in Outlaw #11. My friend Lee did accept the murder of his comrades on the battlefield by Chinese infantry who slit the throats of the American wounded. Lee was there, but he had his own problems.
The question, however, for Americans today, is how they would feel, how they would think, about watching clips from Iraqi television showing Iraqis murdering wounded American prisoners. We would not be so dispassionate about it as we are about the footage of an American solider shooting a wounded Iraqi.
This double standard of sensibility is common amongst all peoples. Our people are more important than their people. All too human. And as a matter of fact, it is that fact that is at the bottom of all this fighting, war, killing, murder and mayhem.
My kids are more valuable than your kids. My thinking ore valuable than your thinking. My feelings ore valuable than your feelings.
I don’t think there’s anything for it.
Still, we would like to believe there is.