Monday, May 23, 2022

US military - evil, murderous, unaccountable & unremorseful

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. - AFP pic

PENTAGON has a playbook. This much we know. First deflect. If you fail here, then delay. If the demand for justice persists, finally deny. On Tuesday, the Pentagon's "triple jump" was complete when its spokesman, John Kirby, told the world that the United States army commander and his troops who killed "as many as 70 civilians" (according to the website), many of them women and children, didn't violate the laws of war.

No action was taken against any of them, implying that there was no attempt to deflect, delay or deny. But we know. Instead, the investigation ordered by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and led by General Michael Garrett found "procedural errors" in the military's engagement.

Talk about adding insult to injury. Uncle Sam sure knows how to rub it in. Do not go away thinking that the Pentagon, out of its humanitarian concern for the civilians in Syria, ordered the investigation.

No, not at all. Remember the Pentagon's playbook?

Deflect, delay and deny? Thanks to The New York Times, which first broke the story, the Pentagon was forced to act. Uncle Sam would like to tell us that there is a humane way to fight wars, and that it is doing it wherever it wages war. The brutal truth is this: no war is humane.

Remember, too, the US military's drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, in the dying days of American troop withdrawal? According to the Pentagon, the drone was meant for "terrorists". But there was none. Weeks later, no less than General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, was forced to term the killing a "tragic mistake".

Two fighter jets drop 2,500 pounds of bombs on a crowd of women and children and the general calls their deaths a "tragic mistake"? Sure sounds like phrases from the Pentagon's bank of holding statements, ready to be used when the occasions arise.

And they do so frequently. There is a pattern to the Pentagon. This, the Pentagon must get rid of.

Here is how. Firstly, drop the deflect-delay-deny playbook. Admit that the US military has plenty of weaknesses as unearthed by the NYT: flawed intelligence, confirmation bias and minimal accountability. And having acknowledged that, take steps to correct them. Next, when things go wrong — and with the US military, things do go wrong often — ensure that investigations are independent.

Let's not forget what Lord Chief Justice Hewart said more than 100 years ago: "Justice must not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done." The Pentagon may not like this, but all three elements of Hewart's maxim were missing in the US military's investigations in Syria and Kabul.

Not to mention all the investigations that had gone before. By calling these civilian deaths a "tragic mistake", the Pentagon is, in effect, saying okay to impunity.

An example of such impunity was on full display on Tuesday by Kirby. "I'll say it again: No other military in the world works harder than the United States military to prevent and to not cause civilian harm.

It's impossible to get to zero," quotes him as saying. Hubris such as this doesn't do the Pentagon any good. Conscious incompetence can be put right. After all, it's a product of wrong analysis. But unconscious incompetence is a different story.


  1. New Straits Times has remained completely silent, deaf and dumb on the Russian Army's mass murder of civilians in Ukraine, especially in Bucha.
    I call that hypocricy..

    1. Haven't u not noticed that the truculent western reports on Bucha had subsidized to almost nothing?

      What does that mean?

      Bucha is a staged humanitarian atrocity!

      Thus, completely silent, deaf and dumb on the Russian Army's mass murder of civilians in Ukraine, especially in Bucha!

      Hypocrisy, right?

  2. If one is ignorant because of inaccessibility of fact, that's excusable but if choose to trust the disinformation because of bias then confirm you are a brainwashed moron