Posts Tagged ‘civilian’

Worst of Human Nature Takes Hold in Egypt

Monday, December 19th, 2011

It can be very hard to watch this week’s footage showing Egyptian security forces beating and killing civilians. If there’s anything to be learned from these vile and disgusting acts, it’s that the authority to hurt other humans should be considered amongst the most sacred of all privileges.

Egypt’s soldiers – the men who are now guilty of murder – started out as regular people. They took a job in the military, making their living doing what they’re told. On top of this, they face indoctrination leading them to believe they are fighting for a just cause.

Then, when the order comes and free license is given to beat unarmed citizens with metal rods, some of these troops will excel in their roles as thugs. Just like the young men caught enthusiastically jump-stomping their own brothers and sisters.

The problem, however, is not with the soldiers, but rather with the generals. The leaders who gave permission for violence to happen are ultimately responsible, and when justice prevails they will be held fully liable for the carnage they set into motion.

Violence should only be used as a last resort, and only as a deterrent against greater violence. When decision-makers lend the right to hurt others with such ease, atrocities like those we see across the Middle East will continue to happen.

Of course, it’s all fine and dandy to point out what seems obvious: if we want peace we need to severely restrict the use of violence. But how does this knowledge help anyone staring down hundreds of armed goons? Well, it doesn’t.

But it does give the rest of us something to aim for – which is a world where the general population has the means to hold authorities accountable for their actions.

Fortunately, thanks to the ever expanding reach of citizen journalism, combined with a free Internet through which to exchange stories, institutionalized corruption and injustice will continue to be exposed. Leaders who abuse the powers they’ve been entrusted with will brought to bear for the suffering they cause.

Holding the use of violence in the highest esteem something we’ve either forgotten or never learned. But it is a truth we will awaken to as we usher in a new era of peace for our planet.

Four Civilians for Every Enemy

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Death tolls since the beginning of the US’s non-consensual liberation of Iraq: about 20,000 for the insurgents/defenders and 4,500 for the invaders/democratizers.

Compare that to the number of Iraqi civilians who’ve been killed in the past ten years. Estimates range from 100,000 up to 1,000,000. Even at the conservative end, that’s four dead good-guys for every combatant.

And the stats coming out of Iraq are not uncommon for war zones. Armed conflict always hits the civilian population the hardest.

What this means for you war-hungry young men and women out there is: if you decide to enlist as a soldier of war, you’d better be prepared to kill innocent people.

Now, don’t worry. It will never get put to you that way. Just the opposite, in fact. You’ll be told – and you’ll probably believe – that you’re fighting to save and protect lives.

But, for every enemy you and your comrades slay, be sure to prevent the deaths of at least five non-combatants. That way you’ll make a net positive for the, on average, four or more innocent lives you just took.


Then again, when you try to get into the math of it all, what really becomes clear is how millions of people are fighting and dying so that the super-rich can grow even richer.

US Military attacks Iraqi Civilians

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

By now you’ve probably heard of the leaked video showing US soldiers opening fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians.  If not, see below for some clips of the video.

This video is hard to watch.  A group of mostly unarmed men gunned down, some of whom were Reuters journalists.  An injured man struggles, crawling down the sidewalk, trying to escape.  Other unarmed civilians come to his aid, trying to be good Samaritans, only to be shot and killed by the crew of the US Apache.  Very ugly.

This is doubly true when we hear the crewmen saying things like “Come on, let us shoot!,” “Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards,” or when hearing how a little girl had been shot… “Well, it’s their fault bringing their kids to a battle.”

As Wikileaks editor Julian Assange says, what we see here is the corruption of the US soldiers by war itself.  The crew have been desensitized to their own actions.  They see it as being a video game, the targets dehumanized.  The humans they are killing aren’t even human… they’ve become objects.

This video, while very grotesque, is an everyday occurrence in Iraq.  About 100,000 civilians have died since the US invaded Iraq (source: meaning on average 40 innocent people have died every day, in this now 7 year campaign.  Of course, there is no justification for the loss of these lives and no way to rationalize these deaths as anything other than tragic.

But what this video does highlight is how the wholesale slaughter of fellow humans has become institutionalized.  Modern war has become a process, a routine… like cars being built on an assembly line.  But instead of making vehicles, the war industry makes death and pain, with the by-products being fear and hate.

Even if the war in Iraq ends, which is becoming more likely everyday, the war machine will still look for more places to attack.  They will spread propaganda about a new threat, a new country to invade to create another stage on which to set up their assembly line of death.

The soldiers in these videos are not to blame, they are only doing what they believe is the right thing to do.  It is their job, their occupation, to kill people.  (Of course, if you give someone a hammer, pretty soon everything begins to look like a nail.) But it is not their job to stop the war.

Rather, it is up to everyone else to decide to stop this nonsense.  It is up to the American people to recognize that war is not the answer and  order the government to withdraw.  It is up to the world’s people to stand up against war, and rise up against institutionalized armed conflict wherever it arises.

War will not end itself on its own… it is up to us – the world’s people – to bring an end to war.