17 thoughts on “US atrocities in Afghanistan like in My Lai

  1. Soldier Held in Afghan Massacre Had Brain Injury, Marital Problems

    (WASHINGTON) — The Army staff sergeant who allegedly went on a rampage and killed 16 Afghans as they slept in their homes had a traumatic brain injury at one point and had problems at home after his last deployment, officials told ABC News.

    But the soldier, who is based at Fort Lewis in Washington, was considered fit for combat duty and deployed to Afghanistan in December, officials said.

    What has trickled out about the unidentified suspect is that he is 38, on his fourth combat deployment in 10 years, the first three in Iraq. He was on his first tour in Afghanistan, where he’d been since December.

    When the massacre took place, he was assigned to Camp Belambay, a remote combat outpost where his job was to be protection for Special Operations Forces who were creating local militias. He was not a member of the special forces unit.

    An official told ABC News that the soldier had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the past, either from hitting his head on the hatch of a vehicle or in a car accident. He went through the advanced TBI treatment at Fort Lewis and was deemed to be fine.

    He also underwent mental health screening necessary to become a sniper and passed in 2008. He had routine behavioral health screening after that and was cleared, the official said.

    When the soldier returned from his last deployment in Iraq he had difficulty reintegrating, which included marital problems, the source told ABC News. But officials concluded that he had worked through those issues before deploying to Afghanistan.

    The shootings occurred at 3 a.m. at three houses in two villages in the Panjway district of southern Kandahar province, an area that was once a Taliban safe haven, but has recently become safer after a surge of troops in 2009.

    The soldier left the base in the middle of the night and wore night-vision goggles during the alleged rampage, according to a source.

    The first village was more than a mile south of the base. While there, he allegedly killed four people in the first house. In the second house, he allegedly killed 11 family members — four girls, four boys and three adults.

    He then walked back to another village past his base where he allegedly killed one more person, according to a member of the Afghan investigation team and ABC News’ interviews with villagers.

    All of the victims were shot in their homes, according to villagers and the Afghan president’s office.

    Video from the scene show blood-splattered floors and walls inside a villager’s home and blood-soaked bodies of victims, including the elderly and young children, wrapped in blankets and placed in the backseat of a van. Some of the bodies appear to have been burned.

    John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said officials “don’t know what his [soldier's] motivation was. We are looking into that.”

    After the alleged shooting spree, it’s believed the soldier returned to the base and calmly turned himself in. He remains in NATO custody. One source told ABC News that the soldier had “lawyered up” and declined to talk.

    Details about the staff sergeant emerged as the Taliban vowed revenge against “sick-minded American savages” after the mass killing.

    Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

  2. Another Vietnam? Isn’t it a little too late for that?

    Why does the Special Forces need protection? Hmmmm! Makes One Wonder.

    If they were teaching the locals how to defend themselves, maybe they’ll learn quickly. The lesson here:
    Lock thy doors.
    Be thy neighbor’s keeper.
    Learn the alphabet.
    Naturally assume you have a mental illness if you saw more than one person doing the killing.
    Assume the killer has a mental illness caused by bumping the head on a trunk lid.
    Learn to psychoanalyze others to make sense of the chaos.
    Report all suspicious activity to the local police. They’ll pass it on to those being paid the big bucks to keep peace.
    Get wepons to protect yerself.
    Watch what you eat. Pay careful attention to those near you at the local market and on the trails with your sheep and goats.
    If your horse or dog drops dead…run!

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  9. US military atrocities abroad

    By: Ambeth R. Ocampo

    Philippine Daily Inquirer, Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

    An insightful article in the March 26, 2012, issue of Newsweek reminded worldwide readers of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam on March 16, 1968, when American soldiers entered the village of My Lai and left it a few hours later with between 300 and 500 Vietnamese dead, most of them unarmed women, children and seniors. The article was illustrated with a black-and-white photograph of Lt. William Calley (the only soldier convicted of this crime, who was given a 20-year prison sentence, but was actually released after three and a half years of house arrest!) and a horrendous color photograph of the bodies of slain women and four toddlers sprawled on a dirt road.

    The article was written in the context of atrocities committed by US soldiers abroad, like the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq and a more recent incident in Afghanistan where one soldier killed 16 people. Memory is helped by color photos from 1968, more so with video in 2012, but I wondered why there was no reference to the conduct of US soldiers in a much earlier conflict then known as the “Philippine Insurrection” (a revolt by Filipinos against the established US government in the Philippines), later revised into the “Philippine-American War” (meaning a conflict between two nations, this change in name finally recognizing the Malolos Government or First Philippine Republic).

    When the soldiers who participated in the My Lai massacre were interviewed, they said that Lieutenant Calley ordered them to rid the village of the enemy, and that the order included the extermination of children. During his trial Calley claimed that children had to be included in the order of battle because they threw hand grenades at the soldiers! This little detail should have been connected to US Brig. Gen. Jacob H. Smith (1840-1918), who was tried in a court martial for ordering his men to “take no prisoners” and lay waste to the Philippine province of Samar, making it a “howling wilderness.” Smith is quoted to have said, “the more you kill, the more it will please me.” His order of battle included women, children and the elderly, who were unarmed and noncombatants but who were apparently just as bad because they provided food and shelter to the enemy. When one soldier asked what was the cut-off age for the children to be killed, Smith replied that the soldiers should kill all Filipino children 10 years or older because they were big enough to brandish bolos!

    We have archival photographs in sepia of dead Filipino “insurrectos,” making the horror very remote from our times. We have transcripts of interviews with US soldiers at the turn of the 20th century who witnessed or participated in atrocities in the Philippines, but since these are text-heavy documents in archival records rather than color photos or streaming video, again the horrors of the Philippine-American War are so far from living memory that they are, at best, described as “panahon pa ni Mahoma.” Can we date this “panahon ni Mahoma” to pre-Spanish times when advanced settlements were Muslim? Is “panahon ni Mahoma” a reference to the introduction of Islam in Tawi-Tawi in the 14th century or to the 16th-century attack on the Spanish Philippines by the Chinese pirate Lin Feng, better known as Limahong?

    From the New York Times of April 15, 1902, we have an eyewitness account of the so-called “water cure” that was used to extract information or confessions from Filipino prisoners. This incident occurred in Igbaras, Iloilo, on Nov. 27, 1900, and the victim was the town presidente who was not named:

    “This [town] official was about 40 years of age. When he (the witness) first saw him he was standing in the corridor of the convent, stripped to the waist and his hands tied behind him, with officers and soldiers about. The man, he said, was then thrown under a water tank that held about 100 gallons of water, and his mouth placed directly under the faucet and held open so as to compel him to swallow the water which was allowed to escape from the tank. Over him stood an interpreter repeating one word, which the witness said he did not understand, but which he believed to be the native equivalent of ‘confess.’ The presidente agreed to tell what he knew, was released, and allowed to start away. He was not, however, permitted to escape. Water was brought in a five-gallon can, one end of a syringe was placed in it and the other in the man’s mouth. As he still refused, a second syringe was brought and one end of it placed in the prostrate man’s nose. He still refused, and a handful of salt was thrown into the water. This had the desired effect, and the presidente agreed to answer questions.”

    The use of torture in the Philippines was often explained away as “harmless” because nobody is supposed to have died from it. In some instances a medical doctor was on hand to supervise and ensure maximum pain with no fatalities. Sometimes the excuse given by US military officers was that the “water cure” was something they learned from Filipinos, or that this was actually administered by Macabebe Scouts.

    It seems it is not only Filipinos who have short memories but Americans as well. Thus, when we are reminded of US military misconduct in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, we should not forget to remember the beginning of it all. We must go back to the early 20th century, to the Philippine-American War.

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