Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The making of a war crime

Rory Fanning reports on the latest revelations of war crimes carried out by U.S. troops in Afghanistan–and why those at the top are escaping prosecution.
 
Socialist Worker, March 28, 2011

A U.S. soldier posing with an Afghan civilian murdered by members of his unit
A U.S. soldier posing with an Afghan civilian murdered by members of his unit

PHOTOS OF soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Army infantry division, posing with the dead and mutilated bodies of three Afghan civilians have shocked the world.
Released in the March 21 issue of the German magazine Der Spiegel, only three of the photos have so far been made public, despite the magazine’s claim to have more than 4,000 images and videos taken by the “kill team,” as the group called itself, in its possession.

In the pictures, soldiers pose gleefully with dead Afghan civilians who have been stripped naked and bound by the wrists, and who display signs of torture.

But while the U.S. military is attempting to claim the atrocities were carried out by a few “bad apples,” the responsibility for these crimes rests not only with the soldiers themselves, but with the architects of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq–all the way up to the president.

The U.S. military has reportedly had the images in question since May 2010. Officials at the Lewis McChord Criminal Investigation Division reportedly attempted to keep the photos under a tight lid, and Der Speigel has not said how it obtained the images.
Twelve soldiers from the “kill team” platoon were charged in connection with the murder of the unarmed civilians, and five face murder charges. All together, the soldiers were charged with 76 crimes.

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