Why all the Shock over “Shock and Awe?”

By Elaine Brower

This week Wikileaks -  a website noted for releasing classified, hard to get and damning material about what the military and the Pentagon are up to - put up a video of an airstrike in Iraq in 2007 where people were gunned down from above. Two of those killed in the first round of the attack were Reuters journalists. As the strike continued, two children were gunned down from above.
On Democracy Now! a headline on the incident reads “Massacre caught on Tape: US Military Confirms Authenticity of Their Own Chilling Video Showing Killing of Journalists.” On the show was the co-founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com blogger and author. The release of this video has caused quite a stir on the internet blogs and left-wing websites.
People who have been anti-war advocates argued in real time as to the horror of this attack, the atrocity that was committed and were in total “shock” over the fact that these soldiers could possibly do something like this. WikiLeaks posted the military “Rules of Engagement” supposedly used in battle. Phrases were uttered such as “we are dismayed” “this shouldn’t happen” “what did these guys think they were doing” and just overall outrage and disbelief surfaced everywhere.
There was also lots of chatter about the “coverup of a botched raid” in Gardez, Afghanistan, where soldiers killed two pregnant women, dug the bullets out of their bodies and claimed that they found them that way before their night raid. Again, shockwaves went through the internet community of left wing spots questioning this “atrocity.”
So I ask - do we have short term memory loss? Why are these occurrences such a “shock” to those who are paying attention? Does anyone really think that these are unusual circumstances? I read one email that said this is similar to the “Mai Li Massacre” in Viet Nam. Of course the US military is going to “confirm the authenticity of the video killing journalists” they are proud of it, and support it. Why would they deny it? Those guys are trained killers, and we paid a lot of money to make them that way.
Folks, this is war, American style. The purpose of war is to kill people, anyway they can. The soldiers, marines and airmen do it because they want to, are trained to and they like it. Yes, you may think this is disgusting and I shouldn’t be uttering these words, but THEY LIKE IT. After nine years of wars, and military recruitment and retention on the upswing, what else can we attribute it to.
Our children know nothing else in their lives but violence. They are surrounded by high tech military recruiters and war games from the time they are in kindergarten, and are encouraged to be a card carrying patriot by their families, media, schools and society. Killing is engrained in the American psyche. So why is everyone so dismayed and upset every single time one of these videos gets “released.”
I watch them all the time on military websites, and if you just hunt around the internet for a quick second you will find them posted by combat troops all over the war zones. They have their own blogs dedicated to “shock and awe” videos and photos. This is nothing new, and it will continue as long as we have troops in battle.
Case in point. My son came home from his tour in Fallujah, brandishing photos and videos of his “kills”. I immediately threw him out of the house and destroyed the camera. He managed to upload some onto his computer, and we battled about it for weeks, until he realized I wouldn’t relent. This is what they do. They count their “kills”. They honor each other by them, and soldiers wear it as a badge of honor and courage. People thank these killers for their service when they come home, and wave the flag for them. So why wouldn’t they be excited to kill from the sky, or on the ground for that matter. They get away with it, it’s sanctioned, it gives them a feeling of being godlike, and it’s a damn rush! Ask any combat soldier.

Whether they are firing machine guns from Apache or Cobra helicopters, or using 50 cal. machine guns from the turrets of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle or Humvee, there is no stopping the massacre of people. I won’t say innocent civilians because as far as I am concerned they are all innocent. This Country attacks the people who are in their own neighborhoods, sleeping or eating, driving, or going to school, and justifies it by saying that the shooter had every right to kill.
I just can’t believe the conversations I am still hearing. Pundits and talk show hosts arguing whether the killing was within the ROE or “Rules of Engagement”, or did the victim have an AK-47 or RPG. What the hell are we talking about? Is any of this justified or warranted? Is any video that is taken from planes, drones, helicopters or by amateur troop photographers showing you that they had the right to go ahead and massacre people?
And that is why we are still at war. Those of us on the so-called left, or who belong to the anti-war movement don’t really get it. We cannot honor the warriors under ANY circumstances. It is an oxymoron to say “honor the warrior and not the war.” No such thing exists. The warriors are the war, they choose to fight and kill people, with much fervor I might add. They like it, they get a kick out of it, and then get away with it because it is “justified” genocide.
And America justifies it every single day by waving the flag and supporting the troops. So you may as well get used to these videos, unless you have plans to stop the wars.
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] Organizers Elaine Brower Why all the Shock over “Shock and Awe?”


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.