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Ethan McCord, a former US soldier, has shown great courage and integrity by exposing and condemning US war crimes in Iraq.
McCord’s courage and integrity has nothing to do with his US army training. In fact, his virtue and trenchant humanity is in spite of his US army training which, he says, systematically tried to turn him into a cold-blooded killing machine bereft of any morals or conscience. (1)
What his testimony shows beyond any shadow of a doubt is that US involvement in Iraq has got nothing – nothing – to do with a “war on terror”. It is in fact a war of terror perpetrated on civilians: a war crime involving daily crimes against humanity. The kind of war crime that Nazi leaders were prosecuted for at Nuremburg. It is far from hyperbole for the international community to insist that political and military leaders, from Bush and Blair, to Obama and Brown, should be likewise prosecuted as war criminals.
In July 2007, McCord was on patrol with his platoon in Baghdad when they came under fire from insurgents. A US helicopter gunship soon arrived, but instead of combating the insurgents it proceeded to deliberately and methodically mow down civilians, including children. The carnage, he says, was sickening.
Against his commander’s orders, McCord rescued two badly injured children from the pile of corpses. Unfortunately, for the US military top brass, a video of this mass murder of innocents recorded from the helicopter has since been “leaked” into the public domain and is now accessible via the internet, thanks to the campaigning work of human rights group WikiLeaks (http://www.collateralmurder.com/).
McCord makes some insightful comments about the true nature of US military involvement in Iraq (Afghanistan and Pakistan). He says that the above incident was far from an isolated erroneous event. Such massacre is “an everyday occurrence”. That is, when the US military apologises for “accidently” killing civilians in Iraq (Afghanistan and Pakistan), this is just a cynical ploy to disguise the fact that it is doing such killing deliberately and on a daily basis.
Also, McCord says he initially served in Iraq with pride, thinking that he was fighting for freedom and democracy. What he learnt through his experience though was that he and his fellow soldiers are deliberately dehumanised by their commanders to become mass murderers. Tragically, when they leave the army many of these soldiers take their own lives from the trauma and crimes they are induced to commit. McCord shows that ultimately it is ordinary Americans who are paying the heavy human, moral, psychological, social and financial price for the war crimes of their country – while the architects of such crimes are cosseted by wealth and privilege.
As he puts it:
“The people who are driving the system don’t have to deal with the repercussions. It’s the American people who have to deal with them. They’re the ones who have to deal with all of these soldiers who come back from war, have no outlets and blow up.
“I still live with this every day. When I close my eyes I see what happened that day and many other days like a slide show in my head. The smells come back to me. The cries of the children come back to me. The people driving this big war machine, they don’t have to deal with this. They live in their $36 million mansions and sleep well at night.”
1. Ethan McCord interviewed by World Socialist Website: