Deceptions and Insipid Sentiments: Troop Support
By BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
“American Special Operations forces conducted raids in the area on Friday and Sunday, and on both occasions they called in airstrikes when they encountered armed resistance, the military said. It said in a statement that it had killed 136 Taliban fighters, including some who were trying to flee across the river.”
“Aerial bombing of a valley in western Afghanistan several days ago by the American military killed at least 42 civilians, including women and children, and wounded 50 more, an Afghan government investigation found Wednesday. A provincial council member who visited the site independently put the figure at 50 civilians killed “. . . some women and children were drowned in the river, and it was maybe in the heat of the moment that the children and people wanted to escape and jumped into the water”.”
New York Times, June 3, 2007
Who do you believe about the killing of Afghan civilians? Do you believe official US military statements, brought to us by the people who fabricated the story about Jessica Lynch and lied contemptibly at the highest levels about the killing of Pat Tillman? Or do you believe the Afghans who investigated the bombing?
The military gave a precise number for the number of supposed ‘Taliban’ killed by air strikes, so there are two points to be considered. First, in such circumstances how could they know the number and that all those killed were ‘Taliban’? That is impossible. Second, the military tell us smugly that they don’t do body counts. Then they feed the media with supposed exact figures of dead “enemy”. How can we trust people who produce such garbage? But this atrocity, like so many others, will vanish into the dust of history, speeded into oblivion by the lies of the Pentagon.
In another example of deception the military mind-benders went a bit too far. They made up identical quotes from an “Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified” concerning two entirely separate incidents. Here are the official announcements:
July 13, 2005: “The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,” said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. “They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists”.”
July 24, 2005: ” “The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,” said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified.”
According to CNN “Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, spokesman for the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said use of the quote was an “administrative error.” He said the military was looking into the matter.” Yeah, right, Colonel.
It so happened that on July 11, 2005 Bush had declared “In the face of such adversaries there is only one course of action: We will continue to take the fight to the enemy . . .”, and it looks as if the phrase lodged in what might possibly be called the minds of the Pentagon’s robots. The Department of Defense PR machine was working hard, and the lying moron who concocted the press releases and disgraced his uniform and the Constitution of the United States has probably been promoted. But he had good examples to follow.
During the barbarous obliteration of the town of Fallujah by US forces in 2004 it was stated by witnesses that in the course of their malevolent savagery US troops fired White Phosphorus (WP; what we old soldiers used to know as ‘Willy Pete’) shells which are terror explosives that kill people in the most hideous way. This was denied vehemently by Washington. One self-righteous official rebuttal was that:
” . . . some news accounts have claimed that U.S. forces have used “outlawed” phosphorus shells in Fallujah. Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. U.S. forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters. There is a great deal of misinformation feeding on itself about U.S. forces allegedly using “outlawed” weapons in Fallujah. The facts are that U.S. forces are not using any illegal weapons in Fallujah or anywhere else in Iraq.”
Well . . . , perhaps not quite all the facts, because the US Army’s Field Artillery Magazine then recounted, embarrassingly, that :
“The munitions we brought to this fight [in Fallujah] [included] illumination and white phosphorous (WP, M110 and M825) . . . . White Phosphorus proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions . . . and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired “shake and bake” missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out. . . We used improved WP for screening missions when HC smoke would have been more effective and saved our WP for lethal missions.”
The official Pentagon lie was “they were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions” but the army inadvertently revealed that they were fired to “shake and bake”. In ordinary language that means to terrify and incinerate. A tiny morsel of WP burns instantly into flesh and cannot be stopped in its fiery chemical plunge deep into the body. There is no remedy. Victims die in shrieking agony from the effects of ammunition that the Pentagon boobies tell the world was fired “into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters.” They lied. They are beneath contempt.
These people have forfeited all trust and credibility, especially as it seems they tell their lies for political reasons.
The military are supposed to be non-political. They owe allegiance to the Constitution. Their duty as citizens in uniform is to be representative of all Americans, no matter what politician is in the White House; no matter what political parties indulge in puerile antics in the House and Senate. But it appears that the generals have become politicized. Facts are acceptable only if they help the White House, and if convenient facts can’t be produced it’s easy enough to conjure up some cockamamie claptrap that will be believed by an amazing number of Americans, if by nobody else. Take, for example, the latest news about the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.
We are supposed to believe that a boy who was thrown into jail in Afghanistan at the age of fifteen is a major and potent enemy of the United States. It is claimed that he is guilty of “conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, spying, and proving material support for terrorism.” At fifteen years of age he was in a compound that was bombed by US aircraft. He was the only survivor and, appallingly wounded (he lost an eye), he threw a grenade at US soldiers who came in to finish things off. They beat him up and he was then subjected to the most vicious torture before being sent to the Gulag cells of Guantanamo Bay.
Don’t these people understand that by conjuring up such twaddle they are making their nation an object of ridicule and hatred?
When the American public is urged to “support our troops” there is automatic positive reaction. There is not a US politician who would dare criticize the military, even when presented with irrefutable evidence of hideous atrocities. There is a plenty of “regret” and suchlike insipid sentiment. But you’ll never get condemnation. It is unthinkable to even hint that the military can do wrong.
There is little wonder that the military in Iraq and Afghanistan disguise facts, manipulate the truth, and tell downright lies. They have the example of the rancid Bush Administration, none of whose members have ever heard a shot fired in anger, yet have the light of battle in their steely eyes. They simply follow their leader, one of whose most absurd and blatant lies was that “We gave him [Saddam] a chance to allow the [nuclear] inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in.” This preposterous fabrication has not been challenged by any prominent public figure because of the deep-seated national belief in the myth of presidential probity, no matter what evidence may be presented to the contrary. It’s on exactly the same lines as the blind, mindless repetition of “support our troops”.
The lie was repeated on June 5 by Republican Mitt Romney, word for word, and was unchallenged by any other candidate for the devalued post of president of Washington-on-Oil. The commentator Larry Beihart recounts that “Wolf Blitzer, moderating the debate didn’t correct him. The so-called journalists asking questions didn’t seem to notice. The CNN post debate commentators didn’t mention it. The New York Times and The Washington Post, in today’s stories on the debate, didn’t mention it. A web search this morning [June 6] didn’t reveal any comments on Romney’s astounding statement.”
The Pentagon’s lie machine is working well, but Washington doesn’t realise how much damage is being done to the credibility of the United States. The liars might hope and imagine they are protecting their president from condemnation, but all they are doing is creating worldwide contempt, ridicule and loathing for their country. By manipulating facts and downright lying they are doing the reverse of supporting the troops. But once the leader lies, it’s downhill all the way.
Brian Cloughley is a former army officer who writes on political and military affairs. His website is www.briancloughley.com.