Friday, September 28, 2007

Who Are the Bad Guys?

A very disturbing report appeared in today's NYT:

In anguished, eloquent sentences, Sergeant Vela, a member of an elite sniper scout platoon with the First Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, quietly described how his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley, cut off the man’s handcuffs, wrestled him to his feet and ordered Sergeant Vela, standing a few feet away, to fire the 9-millimeter service pistol into the detainee’s head.

Of course this is not the norm and of course this is rare. But it happens and it happens often enough to bear thinking about. The article goes on to say that the platoon was exhausted by a military leadership desperate to raise the body count.

Remember when Rummy said "Well, we don't do body counts on other people."

Well actually we do. It's a body count war and it's increasingly become a body count war; 35 insurgents killed here, 65 Taliban killed there.... but no real confirmation, nebulous numbers while those on the ground cry out about civilian dead and the US Army flails around trying to win over a now unwinnable population, mercenaries disguised as security forces that fire into crowds and soldiers who murder innocents at the drop of a hat.

It will, no it has, driven America's standing in the world to a depth that I cannot remember and always the pressure from the top; kill, kill, kill because that's the only answer they have for their own failure.

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