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Ear to the Ground

American Soldiers Accused of Shooting Afghans for the Hell of It

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Posted on Sep 27, 2010
Interrogation footage obtained by CNN

Five U.S. soldiers are accused of getting high and murdering Afghan civilians without cause. In leaked interrogation tapes, at least two appear to confess to as much.

In one tape, Specialist Jeremy N. Morlock, who, if convicted, faces a death sentence, was asked whether one victim in particular was carrying weapons or acting aggressively. Morlock replied candidly: “No, not at all. Nothing, he wasn’t a threat.”

The soldiers are accused of taking souvenirs of their alleged crimes, including body parts and photos in which they are said to pose with the victims.

The New York Times:

The soldiers are accused of possessing dismembered body parts, including fingers and a skull, and collecting photographs of dead Afghans. Some images show soldiers posing with the dead. As many as 70 images are believed to be in evidence.

Some of the soldiers have said in court documents that they were forced to participate in the killings by a supervisor, Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who is also accused in the killings. All five defendants have said they are not guilty.

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Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Yeap, and when enough chattel wake up from their subjugation, this country’s Romans will leave and have already developed the same ‘machine’ in China and elsewhere… and then maybe they’ll release their fangs on Amerika… and it may become something like what was America.

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By knute, September 29, 2010 at 10:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We seem to learn nothing from the past. This harkens back to Vietnam in many ways. One of the reasons we send our young to fight wars is exactly because they are more easily coerced into following orders. They are conditioned in their training to do that without question. All it takes is one asshole calling the shots and you have another atrocity commited. It does point out something apparently lacking in their training from the onset. A dehumanizing, and we read too many accounts of american soldiers machine gunning civilians in the street in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have turned it into just another video game for too many with their fingers on the button controlling a drone from an ocean away. But I think the one over-riding fact here is that whenever we engage in a war without the support of the people in that location and without a clear reason why we are there,(and I don’t mean to stop the flow of terrorism or communism) that this is an inevitable outcome. The war in Afghanistan was started by the Cheney / Bush administraion. It quickly became obvious they weren’t really after Bin Laden after all, he was allowed to escape because we outsourced that to the Afghans, hardly a serious effort to remove him. A consious decision was made in the White House that they needed the bogey man more then they wanted to kill him despite the lies told. During the rest of the Bush administration, while we concentrated most of our military effort in Iraq, the Taliban was allowed to re-establish itself both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was and continues to be a symbiotic relationship. Bush needed Bin Laden to provide the fuel for their neo-con agenda and Bin Ladin needed bush for recruitment into his organization(s). The people of Afghanistan are caught in the middle to pay the price. This war will end just like Vietnam. At some point we will leave with our tail between our legs. The people killed will be another sad waste of life for nothing. I doubt the people of Afghanisatn will be near as forgiving towards America as the Vietnamese turned out to be. My son travelled to Vietnam a year ago and was treated wonderfully by the locals he met in Ho Chi Min city, something I find almost amazing considering the destruction we dumped on that part of the world a generation ago. The one difference between those two wars is the fundimentalist religous bent in Afghanistan as opposed to the predominate Buddhist culture of Vietnam that will prevent the people of Afghanistan from ever living what we would consider a life of freedom. What are we hoping to accomplish by staying there ? When word spreads thru the country of atrocities like this committed by out troops, of wedding parties blown up from one of our drones, how can we expect the people to support our efforts there ? What is the ratio of terrorists created each time vs. cooperative civilans ? These soldiers involved should ofcourse face accountability. But before we completely scapegoat them, perhaps we should be looking at who and how they were trained right here at Ft. Lewis WA. as well.

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Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

Surely I don’t only mean video games as of late has caused innocent killings in this war as history has shown madness has always happened in war…

Yet I’m sure there is a level of measurement which could showcase the degree a desensitized person’s choice can be flexed, being previously ‘geared’ to have hairline trigger reflexes by hours upon hours of ‘programming.’  Why is tv and radio shows called programs?  Ever think about that one?  Well, in video games, the illusion of participating in the program is possible, yet it is still a program.

Is it only me who sees these correlations or I’m just too huffy puffy and need a month’s holiday somewhere with little umbrellas in the drinks? 

I have younger family members who’ve never fired a weapon or firearm… and day one on the range, they were shooting bulls-eye thanks to video games with guns and night vision all the rest of ‘themes.’

Themes which condition adolescent behaviour as well as human behaviour.. read the increased incidence of violent crime following a major boxing / fighting sporting event.

So there’s one for aim…. anyone here every play one of those where you have all kinds of weapons and could do pretty much what you want until the police or national guard halls you off or kills you?

MEDIA HAS THE MAJOR ROLE IN OUR DAILY CHOICES, and furthering the propaganda of ‘liberating the people of _____’ which really is subjugating the a new people and making them like slaves of old by force, manipulation, coercion or worse.

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By robertaustin, September 29, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

Napolean DoneHisPart, I’m sure the video games don’t help, but people have been butchering and killing other people for sport during war time long before there were video games. I doubt the people who commit atrocities for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda spend a lot of time playing violent video games. The primary problem is war not video games.

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Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

In other words…

These kids were playing ‘shoot-em up’ in Iraq as if they were sitting on the couch in a vegged state blowing up digital people.

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Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Could there be a correlation between what these youngsters did and the video gaming experience ( the battle games and such ).

I am very confident if I were to interview honest soldiers, I’d get a great slice of a demographic that would allow me to write a compelling thesis paper showing the conditioning of video games, fictionalized movies and the Amerikan Empire Program has on the human psyche in war situations commingled with life and death level stress.

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By Jim Yell, September 29, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I must point out in response to some comments that Bush/Cheney and the Republican Party had control of congress during much of his 8 years and pretty much did what they wanted to do. This included starting a War thru lies, faked intellegence, calling all oppositon traitors, so it is not true to lay this all on the Democrats, but I do agree all our elected officials have been derelect in duty and have been cowards, focused only on maintaining their positions as elected officials, but worse thru the charade of political contributions they have been paid handsomely to sell there elected offices to the highest bidder. The treason in this country is coming from Republicans and Democrats, but the wars we are dealing with now are all fomented and started by the Republican Party, unfortunately Obama as merely followed their lead.

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, September 28, 2010 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

gerard,
I am not a “do nothing” person. I have done my part and then some against war and violence. Marched, joined peace groups, written many articles, spoken out in a public forum and taken my lumps along with my friends who I have made in the peace movement.
There is a base closing near where I live. There were rumblings about having drones built there to give people “jobs”. I am an old woman now and just about on my last legs but I got up and brought down the house in a talk about the evil that drones are. I had long-term peace activists come up to me after with tears in their eyes telling me that they had never heard such a powerful delivery.
Result?—There will not be drones built here. We did it! We pissed off the powers that be, but we got to the majority of people who also voiced their opinion against drones.
But there have been many battles lost, also. We keep fighting because morally it would be unthinkable to do otherwise.
I do not wash my hands of massive crimes committed by this country. I fight the good fight every day in every, however humble, way I can.

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By gerard, September 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

Queenie: I wish I could absolve myself, but as an American citizen, and knowing what I know, I am convinced that we who allow these wars to take place and do nothing are more responsible than these know-nothing kids who get sucked in because they are too ignorant to know what else to do. There are organizations that could (can) help them learn otherwise but those organizations are obscued by lack of funds, lack of public knowledge, and sometimes harrassment as “disloyal.”  They do their best against terrific odds, but ... the scales are weighted against them. To pretend that these kids have a real choice under present circumstances is naive. Most of them have little hope for the future and are attracted by false advertising.
  It is our fault that we permit the amount of public ignorance prevalent today.  It is our fault that we do not rise up and crawl to Washington by the millions to stop these treacherous wars committed on our dollars and in our name.  Wash your hands of such massive crimes committed in the name of the United States of America. I cannot. I am a citizen of a country befouled by violence and injustice, and as such, I have responsibility.  I deeply wish I could be free, but my loyalty as a citizen obligates me to at least speak out against a system that victimizes kids like this in the name of my “national security.”

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, September 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

Speak for yourself, gerard. I am not blood thirsty nor am I fear transfixed. Just pissed off. This punk will become a “victim” on his own dime, not mine. He had choices. He made them. If he was too stupid or lazy that he was talked into joining up, knowing it meant killing innocent men, women and children, then I have absolutely no pity for him. Good people do not kill other people. Only in self defense or to defend their family and home.

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By FRTothus, September 28, 2010 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Lest we think that this is something recent, or goes back only as far as the mass murder we committed in Vietnam…

“Our men . . . have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up…. Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to “make them talk,” and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later. . . stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”
(Philadelphia Ledger newspaper in 1901, carrying a dispatch from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain for the control of the Philippines)

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By gerard, September 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Just take one look at this kid’s face—scarcely old enough to have whiskers, pink-cheeked, a bit stupid-looking, a little on the blank side.  Trained to kill.  Trained to follow orders without asking questions.  Trained to be heartless. Put under terrible pressure. Given free meds to calm his nerves.  Head injury? Maybe. Then suddenly ... all hell breaks loose!
  Furthermore, it has all happened before. We saw a lot of it in Vietnam days. We are the ones who deserve the death penalty for allowing it to happen again—over and over and over.  Not Obama. Not the Democrats or the Republicans. Not the Afghanis. US.
Us, the loyal, secretly blood-thirsty, blindfolded, fear-transfixed American citizens.  You. Me.

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, September 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Obama and the Democrats.  This is the evil you’ve let loose upon the world.  You had a chance to end this and bring the troops home.  Instead, you ‘surged’ this, and multiplied this sort of evil.

This is what you get when you vote Democrat.

Please don’t vote Democrat. 

Unless you really like the idea of Americans riding around just shooting people for the heck of it.  If you think that’s fantastic, then I guess you should go ahead and be a proud Democratic voter.

War is hell.  If you support war, you support hell.  The Democrats support war.  The Democrats voted for these wars.  The Democrats have funded these wars from the beginning.  Now Obama and the Democrats have claimed full ownership.

A vote for the Democrats is a vote for hell.

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By msgmi, September 28, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As at Abu Graib, the chain of command was a failure…lowering recruiting standards is a failure…sending the warriors multiple times into comabat zones without proper recovery periods is a failure..SecDef Rumsfeld et al was a failure…congress is a failure…Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’ was ditched in favor of ‘shock & awe’ which was a failure. Victory is in Afghanistan is reacheable according to those that ditched the ‘Art of War’.

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By felicity, September 28, 2010 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

robertaustin laid it out pretty clearly. Soldiers are
trained to have personality disorders.  Nam was full of
incidences like this one.  The tragic irony in the case
of Morlock is if brought to trial and convicted we will
kill him.  A society that sanctions the death penalty
must accept the fact that any ‘enemy’ of the state
(even an unarmed Afghani living in a country with which
we are at war) also deserves to die.

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By glider, September 28, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

It would seem logical that if your goal is to win hearts and minds you do not send professional soldiers trained to kill for that function.  I do not recall having these kind of problems with the Peace Corps.  Soldiers are good for fighting no holds barred wars when all other alternatives have failed.  It is ridiculous to have them involved in MIC war profiteering and nation building.

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By robertaustin, September 28, 2010 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

War is state sanctioned murder. This is a horrible crime, but how do you expect young men who are trained to kill to behave under these circumstances? When you train people to be barbarians and you send them on a barbaric mission, they will behave as barbarians. We are, all of us, cloaked in a thin mantle of civilization. In times of war, the state grants some of its citizens the opportunity to throw off this mantle. These guys, if guilty, unfortunately chose not to put it back on when they were supposed to. This war is stupid and wrong, and we should get out of it immediately. It is silly to talk about trying these guys for murder when all soldiers are trained to commit murder. Their mentality is exemplified by this line from Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”:

“God has a hard-on for Marines because we kill everything we see! He plays His games, we play ours! To show our appreciation for so much power, we keep heaven packed with fresh souls!”

Wikileaks has shown us what we already know. War is a savage business. There is nothing noble about it. We send our young citizens off to foreign lands and train them to kill. We hail them as heroes if they kill on a certain day in a certain way. Others, who choose to kill on another day in the “wrong” way, are viewed as murderers. Do these distinctions make us feel more ethical?

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