Pattern of Force
I'm leaving, Captain, I must go
There's blood upon your hand
But tell me, Captain, if you know
Of a decent place to stand - Leonard Cohen
Only time right now for some quick thoughts on Haditha. Or rather, Haditha's elevation as Iraq's official, bad apple atrocity.
Even for those who try to pay attention to what filters through the fog of war crimes, these things tend to run together. Haditha isn't Abu Sifa where, according to Iraqi police, US forces "on a rampage" executed a family of 11, then bombed their house, burned their cars and slaughtered their animals. What more will we hear of Abu Sifa, now Haditha has become the representative and inevitable example of honour's exception?
Because along with Haditha comes Jesse Macbeth, allegedly a former Army Ranger and Iraq war veteran, whose claims that massacre was method rather than madness rapidly went viral on the Net. His story was unsubstantiated and exteme, yet plausible because it was extreme, and provided a template to the pattern of force on exhibit in Iraq. A pattern rarely admitted by the West's institutional media.
But Macbeth, it now appears, is the Pentagon's timely strawman to buttress its case for Haditha's exceptionalism, and to discredit influential anti-war voices such as Iraq Veterans Against the War. Whether unaware or not of his status as a COINTELPRO asset, it doesn't matter, because regardless, Macbeth became a lucky charm for those who refuse to believe the program of horror in which US troops are engaged, and there are many. Similar stories may now be said to have been "debunked," without examination or a straining of battlefield ethics.
It was a scandal 20 years ago when Ronald Reagan - the Bush family's post-Hinkley Zombie-in-Chief - honoured the SS dead at Bitburg, and by turn paid homage to the old fascist "anti-communist" front of the Republican Heritage Groups Council. It was, perhaps, merely a prefigurement of the Nazi stain in America's own blood cult, and what should be a crisis of conscience on Memorial Day.
On supposedly progressive forums I've seen many apologies for Haditha, and for the other Hadithas still cloaked in denial. Don't judge the troops too quickly, or too harshly, some write, because "Hell is full of heroes." Heaven, meanwhile, fills with children.
There is no decent place to stand, not in a massacre.