Another week, another atrocity committed by occupying forces in Afghanistan kindly captured on camera by the perpetrators.
Isn't technology fantastic? Back in the bad old days of the Vietnam War, intrepid war reporters had to risk their lives in the middle of war zones to get images of terrible crimes committed by the occupying force. Now, with these wonderful smart phones and cheap, easy to use digital cameras, the bastards can do it themselves.
“This is not who we are,” US defense secretary Leon Panetta insisted on April 18, after the Los Angeles Times published yet another round of images of US soldiers in Afghanistan posing with body parts of dead Afghans.
They get a lot of bad publicity, but the occupying US military forces are really quite nice once you get to know them. You just have to look past the constant atrocities and give them a chance to let their true selves shine.
For instance, as no doubt Panetta explained to the assembled press, when not carrying out murderous air strikes, or busting down doors in night raids, or going on shooting rampages against civilians, or torturing Afghanis in the infamous Bagram prison, or taking happy snaps of body parts of those slaughtered, or burning their victims’ Korans, or urinating on corpses, the occupying forces actually bake quite a lovely quiche, which they are always more than happy to share.
But you don’t see pictures of that in the LA Times, just images that, as Panetta was quick to point out, are used by the enemy.
You may think that, by now, the enemy don’t really need any more help in pointing out that the forces occupying Afghanistan are brutal and murderous. But possibly there is still one village left in a remote mountainous part of Afghanistan, yet to be bombed by the occupiers, who are still trying to make up their minds.
Of course, as any media commentator will tell you, the real concern here is not what this latest revelation of more atrocities means for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan. It is what does it mean for the West?
As the occupation staggers from one disaster to another, pressure is growing in the countries taking part in the occupation to pull their soldiers out. But the media commentators are quick to pose the most important question: Is the job done?
Surely, after 10 hard years of slaughtering the Afghan people, we can’t cut and run. If the occupation forces stop now, all that slaughtering would have been in vain. And if the US-lead forces stop killing people in Afghanistan, other people might start killing people in Afghanistan — and that would quite clearly be wrong.
The biggest question, of course, is will the Afghan security forces now being “mentored” by the occupiers be able to take over if Western forces leave?
In other words, will the Afghan security forces — who keep refusing to kill other Afghans and instead turn their guns on the occupiers — prove willing and able, once the occupiers are gone, to kill enough other Afghans to allow the corrupt warlords the West put in power to stay in power?
In the case of Australian forces, I really don’t think we need worry. The Australian military has been busy training the forces of warlord Matiullah Khan in Oruzgan Province.
On the basis of the evidence of his long history of atrocities and corruption that have marked his rule over much of the region, it would seem he already knows how to be brutal and corrupt warlord. He’ll be fine killing Afghans without our assistance.