Tuesday, March 13, 2012


When members of our military burned Korans in Afghanistan not long ago leading to massive demonstrations and deadly reprisals, I couldn't help feeling a little suspicious. I was in the service for over four years just as Viet Nam was heating up. I know every service had a code of conduct and sat through classes and took tests and had drilled into each member who the enemy was and what the military expected of us, etc.

It seems inconceivable to me that in a hot spot like Afghanistan where life and death decisions are being made every second and discipline is crucial to survival that the troops who burned the Koran, no matter what the justification (supposedly the Muslim prisoners were using them to send coded messages or whatever) that these troops weren't aware what any kind of desecration of The Koran might cause in a Muslim country like Afghanistan.

Same goes with the three Marines who were filmed by one of their own while they urinated on the bodies of dead Muslims. They had to be aware that the desecration of dead bodies in Islam is another taboo they were deliberately flaunting. that seemed to be the point.

And now the mass murder of civilians by a supposedly rogue Army sergeant, with news leaks saying he had suffered a traumatic brain injury on one of his three or four tours of duty in Iraq before they sent him to Afghanistan. There are also leaks he had just gotten some sort of negative letter from his wife. I had a supposed breakdown after a similar letter when I was in the service during peacetime, so I can understand what that kind of missive can produce when your daily existence is so limited and dominated by conforming to one way of thinking and reacting etc.


I also know that for many years now our volunteer military has been dominated by rightwing political perspectives that include fundamentalist Christian beliefs (or maybe vice versa). Top generals have made it clear they see the religion of Islam as the enemy and clearly the military at every level propagates the idea that there is no country that the USA isn't more righteous than, more morally superior to, and that as in Nam, the enemy has been dehumanized and denigrated (as the right also does here at home against anyone who challenges their lies and fundamentalist beliefs etc.).

So obviously the troops involved in these incidents saw the Muslims they dehumanized and denigrated whether alive or dead, as well as their holy book, as something they felt justified in burning or killing or pissing on. Because their training didn't teach them otherwise or was overruled by attitudes and beliefs promulgated by their superiors for so-called "religious" or political reasons.

And when I think about who these kinds of acts might benefit politically here at home, especially the burning of The Koran, it's clear it mostly jeopardizes Obama's so far successful Afghanistan policy (successful as far as limiting the Taliban's activities and influence to far less than it had been when he established his policy and making it possible for an orderly withdrawal of troops etc.).

It could be coincidence and I'm certainly not saying that the insane massacre of civilians by that sergeant was somehow planned to put Obama in a bind, but the mindset it and the burning of The Koran etc. may have been based on is one that also opposes anything Obama stands for and tries to do, even if it includes acting out what the right says they're for.


JIm said...

I do not accept your hypothesis, that the top brass has been anything but defferential to Islam. A test will be if our Afgan killer US soldier is treated the same as Major Hassan of Ft. Hood.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

What does it say that no matter how "defferential" the top brass may be, there's something profoundly wrong with the picture when soldiers burn Korans, urinate on enemy corpses, go on late night murder sprees, humiliate bound prisoners, etc. etc. It speaks to our society, our military system and the wrongness of this "war" which is really an incursion into another country. And then in streets of cities and towns throughout America, there are legions of homeless veterans who cannot get shelter, jobs, food, much needed spiritual counseling and health care.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Soldiers who perform these heinous acts do not help anything. In fact, they endanger Americans and other innocent people by inflaming victims who would justifiably seek revenge. These soldiers are stupid, wreckless, short-sighted, narrow minded and are not protecting our nation.

JIm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.