Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Who Pays For This?

Who Pays?
Updated June 13, 2005 15:59 CDT

My apologies for an inaudible audio, problems with ourmedia seem resolved now. — Al Ingram

“I started getting pulled into something--something that craved other peole's pain. Just to make sure I wasn't regarded as a "fucking missionary" or a possible rat, I learned how to fit myself into that group that was untouchable, people too crazy to fuck with, people who desired the rush of omnipotence that comes with setting someone's house on fire just for the pure hell of it, or who could kill anyone, man, woman, or child, with hardly a second thought. People who had the power of life and death--because they could.

The anger helps. It's easy to hate everyone you can't trust because of your circumstances, and to rage about what you've seen, what has happened to you, and what you have done and can't take back.

It was all an act for me, a cover-up for deeper fears I couldn't name, and the reason I know that is
that we had to dehumanize our victims before we did the things we did. We knew deep down that what we were doing was wrong. So they became dinks or gooks, just like Iraqis are now being transformed into ragheads or hajjis. People had to be reduced to "niggers" here before they could be lynched. No difference. We convinced ourselves we had to kill them to survive, even when that wasn't true, but something inside us told us that so long as they were human beings, with the same intrinsic value we had as human beings, we were not allowed to burn their homes and barns, kill their animals, and sometimes even kill them. So we used these words, these new names, to reduce them, to strip them of their essential humanity, and then we could do things like adjust artillery fire onto the cries of a baby.

Until that baby was silenced, though, and here's the important thing to understand, that baby never surrendered her humanity. I did. We did. That's the thing you might not get until it's too late. When you take away the humantiy of another, you kill your own humanity. You attack your own soul because it is standing in the way.… ”

Excerpt from Hold On To Your Humanity: A Open Letter to GI's in Iraq by MFSO member Stan Goff.

Marine Cleared in Deaths of 2 Insurgents in Iraq

By By JOHN DeSANTIS, New York Times Regional Newspapers

Second Lt. Ilario Pantano was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the same two-star general who ordered a formal inquiry.

“The killings occurred on April 15, 2004, near Mahmudiyah, as Lieutenant Pantano led a platoon to search a house suspected of being an insurgent lair. When the marines approached, two men left in a white sedan, according to testimony at the hearing, but were stopped on Lieutenant Pantano's order. No weapons were found on the men, who were handcuffed as a Navy corpsman checked their car for weapons. When he was told that weapons and other contraband were found inside the house, Lieutenant Pantano ordered the men unhandcuffed and then directed them to search their car themselves.

Lieutenant Pantano supervised while the corpsman, George Gobles, and a Marine sergeant, Daniel Coburn, stood facing away as sentries. Lieutenant Pantano said that the men made a threatening move toward him after repeatedly talking with each other in Arabic and that he fired, emptying his M-16 rifle's magazine. He reloaded and emptied the second one, a total of as many as 50 bullets.

He acknowledged placing a hand-scrawled cardboard sign reading "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy" atop the car, against which the bodies lay. The sign and the number of rounds fired, according to lieutenant Pantano's statement, were meant to send a message to other Iraqis about what happens to those who join insurgents.

The sign and its placement resulted in a formal accusation of desecration, in addition to the two accusations of premeditated murder.”

Soldier Charged in Iraqi Killing Is Acquitted


A jury of four soldiers and two officers deliberated for less than three hours before finding Staff Sgt. Shane Werst not guilty of premeditated murder.

“Sergeant Werst testified that he did not regret shooting Mr. Ismail but acknowledged that his efforts to make it look like self-defense were wrong. "I would still to this day fire on that man, sir," he said.

He and a fellow soldier had gone into a house with Mr. Ismail looking for weapons. After shooting him, Sergeant Werst said, he fired the Iraqi's pistol into a couch and told the other soldier, Pfc. Nathan Stewart, to put the man's fingerprints on it.

Sergeant Werst said he had been scared because he had never shot anyone before.

The prosecutor, Capt. Evan Seamone, said the story did not make sense. "If this is a legitimate kill, if this follows the rules of engagement, why in the world would he have to create a lie?" Captain Seamone said.

He cited the testimony of Private Stewart, who said Sergeant Werst had gotten mad because he thought Mr. Ismail had lied about his identity. Sergeant Werst said, "Come on, Stewart, we're going to kill" him, Private Stewart testified.”

We're sending a deadly message, but, not to the insurgents and not to Al Qaeda. We're sending this deadly message to those we profess to help.

Read Hold On To Your Humanity: A Open Letter to GI's in Iraq

by MFSO member Stan Goff.

" Bring 'Em On? " By STAN GOFF, Former Special Forces Soldier and Military Parent, as he responds to Bush's invitation for Iraqis to attack US Troops
con·cept: Who Pays For This?