Michael Webster
October 20, 2009
May God bless America: are we winning the hearts and minds?
By Michael Webster

I rarely offer up an opinion piece to my readers, but after seeing this video I felt compelled to address this issue.

Our government has led us to believe that a big part of the war on terror, now called something else, is at least in part, to win the hearts and minds of the people we are there to help.

"Hearts and Minds" is a euphemism for a campaign started by the Bush Administration and United States military, intended to justify and win the popular support by Americans for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

When an oppressed people live in fear of local warlords or thugs, liberating forces like the U.S. Army are sent to try to protect and help them in order to direct their allegiance away from dangerous extremist groups such as the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda.

An important part of the U.S. military action in the Middle East is to try and win the hearts and minds of its people, so when I saw the attached video I was not only shocked and dismayed but was very disappointed in our troops' actions. The video depicts our troops in Iraq taunting and mocking Iraqi children in the public streets. Having these kids repeat degrading and derogatory chants against their own country and religion just so they can get some treats is not amusing. Encouraging Iraqi street kids to chase our military armored vehicles down dangerous streets, risking life and limb, by running behind these vehicles for long distances just to have bottles of water chucked at them by American GIs who are laughing the entire time, is not the image most Americans have of a US soldier sent to liberate and serve.

Another American GI, video tapes and makes fun of a disfigured Iraqi boy and calls him, "the ugliest kid" he had ever seen while laughing and pointing at the boy who was in obvious need of some sort of assistance.

In still another scene recorded by the GIs, sheep herders were resting along a highway with their sheep, while an armored US caravan drove by and mercilessly attacked the defenseless group with an explosive device maiming and killing some of the sheep but even more sickening, possibly some of the sheep herders. The attack appears completely unprovoked and received loud cheers and laughter from the GIs that just continued driving down the road not at all concerned about the damage and potential unnecessary an unprovoked death they may have caused.

The video ends with an American GI holding a scared, defenseless, loudly whimpering puppy by its neck. Then, for no apparent reason other than for fun, throws the puppy 30 or 40 yards in the air across the desert. The defenseless puppy comes down in thud and lands hard on the ground. No other sound is heard from the puppy as it is surely injured and left to fend for itself while the soldier just laughs.

One American mother of a serving GI in theater said after she saw the video it made her sick at her stomach.

This video demonstrates abhorrent conduct by our troops resulting in an extremely negative impact on the very people we are trying to help. Behavior like this undermines all of the positive acts that our military does in theater, and can be as damaging to our global image, as the so called "humanitarian bombing" missions, using our Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) resulting in numerous deaths of innocents, or collateral damage as it is more commonly known, while targeting the enemy. Currently, military UAVs, or drones controlled by US Military here at home, perform numerous successful reconnaissance and attack missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; they have also been prone to collateral damage and/or erroneous targeting. It is reported that the U.S. has upwards of 3000 UAVs in the war on terror. However, even though there may be situations beyond their control, the soldiers manning these drones are not subject to the same effects war has as those soldiers on the ground.

I don't agree that the deplorable actions by these young Americans on this video rise to the level of the Nazis in WWII Germany, as the video suggests. This conduct may be a venting process due to the perils of war endured by our soldiers. To them, these actions may seem trivial compared to what they have seen and experienced, especially after extended and multiple tours. However, I do think their actions are sickening to most Americans. Our soldiers should be held to the highest standard and should lead by example. We, as citizens, have a duty and responsibility to protect our men and women from suffering negative consequences associated with their action in this war. If these actions are a result of the frustration, mental anguish, and fatigue from fighting this war, we need to bring them home immediately. However, if these are the actions of a few rogue, infernal soldiers, they should be held accountable for their conduct.

These actions are counter-productive and do not show what America is about or what our nation stands for. It is this type of conduct that hurts America's image among the peoples of the world and fosters hate towards America and its citizens. It only fuels the hatred aimed at the US and fosters an environment where it is easier to recruit more terrorists and enemies of the United States. It also puts our troops and American civilians in even more danger. Not to mention, it really highlights and causes me to question whether the billions of dollars being spent on this war are really necessary.

Apparently this video is not an anomaly but an average day in the life of some of our troops serving, in this police action, called a war. It is this type of behavior we need to put an end to, NOW!

Would God bless America..????

Some cold blooded Americans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9YpeauieL0

To see complete video go to: www.lagunajournal.com

© Michael Webster

 

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Michael Webster

Michael Webster's Syndicated Investigative Reports are read worldwide, in 100 or more U.S. outlets and in at least 136 countries and territories. He publishes articles in association with global news agencies and media information services with more than 350 news affiliates in 136 countries... (more)

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