Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The U.S. Empire is the Bad Apple by Cindy Sheehan

“This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.”
U.S. President Obama after one of his troops slaughtered 16 Afghans in an unprovoked rampage in Panjwai district of Kandahar

Beautiful Afghan baby or
dangerous enemy?
On April 4, 2004, I returned home from walking our two dogs, Buster and Chewy, to find three U.S. Army officers standing in my living room—there to deliver the news that one of my four children had been killed in Iraq.

Life as I knew it was over at that instant, and it has been a steep climb back to what Warren G. Harding called: Normalcy.

On Sunday, I think many of us were shocked at the news of a U.S. soldier who went on a violent, unprovoked rampage against civilians in Panjwai district. Details are slowly emerging that this soldier had a mild brain injury, was on his 4th deployment (three in Iraq, and this one in Afghanistan, which began in December), and was having marital difficulties. There are millions of us who have had health problems and have struggled simultaneously with marital problems, or other stressors in a capitalist society, and who do not subsequently slaughter 16 people, so I am not excusing the soldier's behavior. 

This is the part of the story that I find most moving:

The soldier entered the home of Samid Khan and killed 11 of his family members, including four little girls, six years and younger. Samid and one of his children, a son, were spared because they were away from the village at the time.

First of all, what kind of sick monster enters a home and slaughters little girls while they sleep? 85% of Samid’s family was massacred that night. The U.S. military had given this soldier mental health clearance and a clean bill of physical health to be redeployed for a 4th time to a war zone. Former U.S. SecDef, Donald Rumsfeld, famously and arrogantly claimed while visiting troops in Kuwait: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.” Well, if this is an example of the “Army we have,” then we better get our asses home and in a just country, Rumsfeld would be occupying a cell at Leavenworth, himself

The four little sisters were not even born on 9/11, when the U.S. rushed to war in the future country of their birth to go after one man that may, or may not have been involved in that attack. One by one the sisters were born into a war-torn nation that would be home to them for such a short time, in what I am sure was a rough and precarious existence. Yet, the sisters became the latest victims of yet another “Bad Apple” in the huge cesspool of Bad Apples that rape their fellow female troops, urinate on dead people, burn holy books, torture prisoners, bomb wedding parties, pilot drones carrying hellfire missiles from thousands of miles away, etc, etc, etc.

Secondly, in the tragedy of Samid, my life was destroyed by the news of the death of one of my children. I cannot imagine coming home from a trip to find my entire family massacred by such a barbaric, yet random act. The walls of Samid's home were covered in the gore of what used to be his family and the floors were covered in blood. My heart screams in pain for Samid and my being cries for justice; Justice that I have so far been denied; justice that won’t bring his family back or give him any kind of recompense, but justice that is demanded in such a case.

The soldier will be tried by the military and the foxes that guard the henhouse will guarantee that this individual mad man won’t have too harsh a punishment while someone who tried to stop the killing, Pvt. Bradley Manning, has had to endure torturous conditions for allegedly leaking information to Wikileaks.

Even though I do think the soldier who perpetrated these acts of mass murder needs to be held to account, I think the mega Bad Apples who sent him there and refuse to even reconsider the “mission” need to have their heads on the proverbial chopping block, too.

Atrocities have been committed in war since the beginning of time and I think we can stipulate that the U.S. Empire is the global Bad Apple. However, war is barbaric and war encourages barbarism. The only way to stop such barbarism is to finally, once and for all, stop using war as a tool in the repertoire of foreign policy.

This is a note to parents everywhere: the U.S. military, war profiteers, and Empire DO NOT care about the children of the world and they DO NOT care about your child. If you have a child contemplating going into the service of the banksters and war profiteers, remember the case of this Bad Apple and the people he murdered in cold blood. Remember my son, Casey—it’s hard enough having to mourn Casey everyday—I can’t imagine being Samid, or the mother of the Bad Apple who committed the crimes. Do you want to be me, Samid or the mother or father of yet another Bad Apple? I hope your answer is an emphatic, “no.”

Obama’s statement that I quoted above should ring hollow to those of us who have been hearing such statements our entire lives in one manifestation of barbarism or the other. In fact, Obama is contemplating other acts of Bad Appleism as we speak and cannot be let off the hook, either.

Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has expressed his hollow outrage over this incident, and the people of Afghanistan should insist that this puppet of U.S. imperialism leave with the deadly occupation.

When I awakened on Sunday morning with the news that this tragedy had occurred, one of my first thoughts was, “I am glad that I didn’t contribute one thin dime to this cluster f#$k.”

As activists who called for complete, total, immediate and unconditional withdrawal while Bush was president we should be doing the same with a Democrat as Bad Apple in Chief.

How much more evidence do we need that Democratic wars are just as pervasive, wrong and deadly as Republican wars?