consider the following scenario: someone breaks into your home, sees you in the kitchen with a fork in your hand, but confusing that fork for a gun decides to shoot you in preemptive defense, along with the rest of your family for good measure. now replace home invasion with the illegal invasion of a country, and a fork for the camera of reuters journalist. and don’t call it murder, call it collateral damage.
now the first scenario is an obvious crime. in the first scenario, castle laws would actually justify the use of deadly force against the home invader. but in the second scenario, the mere potential use of force against the invader gets you labeled a terrorist or an insurgent, and the invader has the right to shoot first and ask questions second.
but if the answer to those questions happens to be the death of innocent civilians, what you don’t have is the right to reveal evidence about it. because killing innocent civilians is not a crime. no, that’s just “the fog of war”. the real crime is putting duty of conscience ahead of military duty. that gets you 35 years, at least if you’re bradley manning.
because collateral damage isn’t murder. no, in the military they call it the rules of engagement. in america, they call it manifest destiny and american exceptionalism. they call it supporting the troops. …except the traitorous* whistle blowers who have the audacity to call out the immorality of those very rules of engagement.
remember, the u.s. ended major combat operations in iraq because the iraqi government would no longer grant americans immunity. you can debate if obama wanted the excuse to leave, but immunity was nevertheless withdrawn, and the stated reasons can be found in the iraq war logs that manning leaked.
on top of the air strike that killed the aforementioned reuters photographer, they include the case of u.s troops executing at least 10 iraqi civilians - among them a woman in her 70s, a baby, and five little children who were handcuffed before being shot in the head - and then calling in an air strike to hide evidence of their crimes. but these are just bad apples, right? like lynndie england.
because idea that an immoral war could somehow foster a permissive culture of immoral conduct is apparently absurd. counter insurgency, after all, is supposedly about winning hearts and minds. and, as revealed by bradley manning, shooting scores of pregnant women for approaching a checkpoint (because obviously it’s a bomb and not a baby) is how the u.s. military thinks you win hearts and minds.
but it’s manning, the guy who said he was trying to end that immoral war, who’s now in jail; not the people who orchestrated an illegal invasion on false pretenses and then criminally mismanaged the illegal occupation; and not the soldiers who killed innocent civilians in a country and in houses they had no right to enter. no, it’s manning who’s the real criminal. but i digress
(original photo by alaa al-marjani outside baghdad) *looks like the jag-offs couldn’t make that case