Looks like our boys had a jolly good time down in Iraq: they made people dance like Jacko, they tortured detainees, they beat civilians to death – nice! And this is just the tip of an iceberg.
Politicians and the mainstream media usually attribute such events to the presence of a handful of ‘bad apples’ in the army. But anyone who has experienced a war will tell you otherwise: this is exactly what happens in wars, permanently and on a massive scale, not as a matter of exception.
Contrary to popular belief, soldiers who commit such acts are no particularly evil or sadistic individuals. War is an extreme situation to be thrown into. It brings out the worst in us, laying bare all those dark undercurrents of our psyche that we’d rather not know about, unleashing all the cruelty human beings are capable of. Every soldier is a victim and a victimiser at the same time.
Americans had a hard time coming to terms with the massacres committed in Vietnam such as the one in My Lai, where the U.S. Army acted in ways not dissimilar to the Waffen SS units the Allies had been up against in WW2. The thought of American boys systematically pillaging, raping and mass murdering their way through civilian settlements was a bitter pill to swallow.
One lesson was learned in Vietnam: all future media coverage of armed conflicts was drastically reduced and heavily censored, and ‘unpatriotic’ journalists were never again permitted to visit war zones. Another lesson, however, has not been learned: torture, rape, arbitrary killings of civilians as well as full-blown massacres are not the work of a few ‘bad apples’, but the very nature of war. Just ask anyone who lived in Yugoslavia in the 90s.
Today we all know that we were lied to about Iraq. The alleged weapons of mass destruction never materialised, Saddam’s alleged links to terrorism turned out to be a rumour at best, and the US regime disposed of the dictator before he could say anything inconvenient in public. The lives of all the men, women and children that were killed, crippled, raped and tortured in the course of this conflict were destroyed for one reason only: the profit of a wealthy elite of businessmen.
Six years down the line, American and British soldiers stationed in Iraq are still being decimated by the Islamic resistance on a weekly basis. For the families of those sent back home in boxes, it must be painful to know that their sons didn’t die to protect their people, but to to protect the business interests of the rich.
Instead of passing moral judgement on a few soldiers and then going back to business as usual, we should do everything in our power to prevent these things from happening again. At present, the eyes of war mongers are directed firmly towards Iran. Their goal: to find a pretext to invade and subjugate the country to their rule before the Iranian people can overthrow the Islamic regime and establish their own, sovereign democracy. Given the election riots and tense political situation in Iran, they might need to act very soon to achieve this goal.
Several punk, rock, glam and hip-hop acts from London are playing a benefit gig for the Iranian people on Saturday, 1st August 2009 in Dalston, East London (see flyer below). All funds raised go towards striking workers in Iran, oppositional student groups and the women’s rights movement in Iran, and progressive/secular Iranian groups that are in opposition to the Islamic regime as well as to imperialist intervention.
It would be great if you made it down, if only to enjoy a really cool (and cheap) night of music. Bands will be playing from 7.30pm to 2am!