Reacting to the Horrific 'Kill Team'

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

At CODEPINK, we've always known that democracy can never be brought to a country by the barrel of a gun. We support Malalai Joya's current US tour (and we co-sponsored her last tour as well). As Ms. Joya noted in The Guardian, "the brutal actions of these "kill teams" reveal the aggression and racism which is part and parcel of the entire military occupation. While these photos are new, the murder of innocents is not."

In Mark Boal's article in Rolling Stone, a soldier proved Ms. Joya's point:
"Most people within the unit disliked the Afghan people, whether it was the Afghan National Police, the Afghan National Army or locals," one soldier explained to investigators. "Everyone would say they're savages."

Are all soldiers racists? Of course not. But foreign policy built around people trained to kill is bound to fail. We, the US tax-paying public must denounce these war crimes and demand a public review of the entire military structure. Have we learned nothing from the horrors of Abu Ghraib?

We must recognize that skillful, civilian diplomacy is the only viable way to promote democracy and human rights. We must demand an end to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. We must tell our representatives to bring our war dollars home to rebuild America.

It is extremely disturbing to read the details of the racism and homicidal tendencies that permeated the Bravo Company in Afghanistan. Janet Weil, our locals coordinator and leader of our Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, offers the following analysis of the situation:

  • The staged killings are both war crimes and predictable extensions of the license to kill that is a part of war.

  • The nakedness/exposure of the dead body of the Afghan boy is linked to the nakedness/exposure of the living bodies of Gitmo prisoners and now Bradley Manning - there is a compulsion to destroy human dignity.

  • The taking of a body part (in this example a finger of the murdered boy) is another part of that compulsion to turn a living human being into an object that stands as a symbol of the willingness of the killer(s) (in this case, US soldiers) to exult in their killing. The body part becomes a fetish.

  • Silence/lack of protest once we have seen these images, read these stories, makes us, the US tax-paying public, complicit in these crimes, and makes it more likely that young men in the military will continue them (to their life-long psychological harm).

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