Monday, January 21, 2008

Iraq Vets: Killing Civilians is Policy

I’m certain that the usual talking heads will splutter and huff and puff and vehemently deny that this is true, but at the end of the day, one can only pit one point of view against another. A group called Iraqi Veterans Against the War have accused the US military of targeting civilians as The Raw Story reports:

"The killing of innocent civilians is policy," said veteran Mike Blake. "It's unit policy and it's Army policy. It's not official policy, but it's what's happens on the ground everyday. It's what unit commanders individually encourage."

It is easy to understand why members of the military past and present would want to deny this and a lot harder to understand why someone would actually come out and state that this is the case and that they took part in such actions.

I fully expect the right that loves the military as long as they play by their rules, i.e. we don’t want to see bodies of Americans, the only casualties we want to know about are Arabs which we can refer to as terrorists, especially if they are dead and we don’t want to hear about atrocities unless they’ve been committed by the other side, to swift boat this group of veterans.

They will very quickly forget the “service to their country” that these soldiers performed and will forget the sacrifices these soldiers made. But these veterans, like the Winter Soldier veterans of 1971, are truly courageous, because in a country such as this where so much is focused on the military, it is harder to speak up. Faced with fellow soldiers who don’t want to hear this it’s harder to speak up. Confronted with what society expects from you it is harder to speak up.

As Maggie Kuhn said, “speak your mind even if your voice shakes.”

These veterans are doing just that and should be applauded not derided.

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