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Slaughter in Bajaur

Archie Kennedy | 15.01.2006 11:08 | Anti-militarism | Repression | London | Sheffield

This indiscriminate attack on the villagers in Pakistan is just one more example of collective punishment and it is another event that is, by any standards, a significant and major war crime.

On Friday, January 13, an American air strike killed at least 18 people in Pakistan. Eight of them were women and six of them were children. Children that had to be protected from scary things like ghosts and goblins by their mothers were suddenly snuffed out by American bombs. Those that survive will live in fear for the rest of their lives after such a brutal and inhumane event. After such a slaughter, it will be imposible for mothers or anybody else make those children feel secure. The psychological impact of war on the survivors is far more severe than most people imagine.

Collective Punishment

This is not an aberration and that is what is most alarming. We have come to look at such events as if its just another American mistake. How many times have innocent villagers been massacred by Americans? The Americans will say that they have received bad intelligence and deem it an unfortunate event. But what is really going on here is collective punishment. This feature of American foriegn policy is not new. The sanctions that were imposed on Iraq killed many thousands of Iraqi children and some estimate that over one million Iraqis have died as a result of them. It was collective punishment on a grand scale. The mass slaughter that is still happening all over Iraq is an extension of this. What happened in Falluja was another example of collective punishment when Falluja was singled out after American bodies were abused in public. There are many more.

What will happen regarding the attack in Bajaur on the 13th, predicatably, is that the Americans will say that they acted on false information. What is important to notice here is that they won't deny they did it. They want the world to know they did it.

The Americans reasoning is that if the human misery is bad enough, the victims will rise up and replace the status quo with something that can facilitate peace. Peace will only occur when the Americans are placated. That is the mesage. The imperial view is that if they instill a sufficient amount of fear in people, the people will behave like quislings and cowards. Although this formula doesn't seem to be working the murderers still hold fast to the theory.

This recent incident occured in the Bajaur region of Pakistan which is considered by the Americans an area where pro Taliban sympathies run high. The government of Pakistan was forced to lodge a protest against U.S. forces after they recently killed eight villagers in the nearby Waziristan area. But Pakistan has an spineless puppet firmly in place, General Pervez Musharraf, who is controlled by Bush, and is incapable of speaking against his master. Don't expect anything but weak lip service that is aimed to placate legitimate anger in Pakistan.

The Americans immediately follow such events with loud proclamations that the attack killed some cartoonish enemy of the American people. This serves to remove attention from the fact that what they are doing is as evil as what they accuse the enemies of America of doing. The American media are lulled into the hypnosis of power. They will report on who al-Zawahiri is with all the depth and analysis of any cartoon and the dangers of radical Islam with the same simplistic style. This has been an ongoing pattern and while the drones in mainstream media report from their hypnotic stupor, the administration plans and carries out further criminal massacres of innocent civilians.

Above the Law

Another sustantial aspect of this latest war crime in Pakistan is that it happened in Pakistan. Again, the Bush administration is pushing the envelope in terms of what is acceptable for the empire. They not only disrespect the soveriegnty of deemed enemies, they also treat the soveriegnty of friendly nations and puppets with disdain.

This particular redefinition of what is acceptable (attacking people in non warring countries) is that there are rules for the American empire and there are rules for all the rest of the nations on the planet. The supreme commander can kill, arrest and torture people, and they can do it in any corner of the world. But if any other country should behave in such a manner, the empire would rule them to be dangerous tyrants. This attack within the borders of Pakistan is tacitly accepted by Pakistan, by mainstram media and many world leaders as another event in America's war on terrorism. If this attack against Pakistan is accepted today, it will be accepted tomorrow when it happens in Venezuela or Iran and everywhere else the day after.

The formula they use is to commit further and more outlandish atrocities and not deny it. They justify it in terms of the security of America, the war on terrorism, or some bizarre style of pre emptive self defense. They deem it war and within this context, anything is possible. The problem is that people and particularily American people, seem to swallow it. The formula seems to work well for them. The views of the average American are well out of step with the rest of the world. It has that spooky aura of Nazi Germany or Communist Albania.

War Crimes

Since the adminisrations slaughter of foriegn Taliban in Deceber of 2001, they have commited countless war crimes. They have waged war, plundered, taken hostages, used chemical weapons, transported prisoners to secret locations, tortured them, slaughtered civilians repeatedly and so on. They should not comfort themselves with the thought that these crimes are not being counted. They are being counted. History will never absolve the Bushites. On the contrary.

If they were to be judged and prosecuted on the standards of the International Military Tribunal against German war criminals in Nuremberg; Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and many other members of that cabal would be hanged.

This indiscriminate attack on the villagers in Pakistan is just one more example of collective punishment and it is another event that is, by any standards, a significant and major war crime.

Let us not become jaded. We cannot normalize slaughter or get used to it. If we allow the psychopaths do do this to our minds, they will have won an important psychological victory. At least 18 innocent people have been murdered by the Americans in Pakistan. Let's not forget it. And let's not forget the individual incidents that have caused such pain and misery for so many people, particularily those in Iraq. Let us make a list. In the future, it will be useful.

Archie Kennedy
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