It is you, ordinary Americans, who are responsible for these crimes: “In sworn testimonies to army investigators, soldiers… tell of a shackled prisoner being forced to roll back and forth on the floor kissing the boots of his two interrogators as he went. Yet another prisoner was made to pick plastic bottle caps out of a drum mixed with excrement and water as part of a strategy to soften him up for questioning.” The soldiers and the torturers were US soldiers.
“The findings of Dilawar’s autopsy were succinct… what killed him was the same sort of ‘blunt force trauma to the lower extremities’ that had led to Habibullah’s death.”
“One of the coroners.. at a pretrial for Brand … (said) the tissue in the young man’s legs ‘had basically being pulpified.’ ”
” ‘I’ve seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus’, the coroner Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Rouse, added”.
Dilawar was a 22-year-old Afghan man, a taxi driver who just happened to drive by a US military base. Willie Brand is a Specialist (!) in the US Military and one of the torturers of Habibullah. Habibullah was “a portly well-groomed Afghan”.
All the above sentences in quotation marks can be found in a New York Times article (May 21, 2005) by Tim Golden written in collaboration with Ruhallah Khapalwak, Carllota Gall, David Rohde, and Alain Delaqueriere, who all deserve the praise of all the people in the world for revealing these atrocities.
If I, a member of the semi-Third World society of Greece, know about this information found in the New York Times it is reasonable to expect that ordinary Americans, members of a privileged and advanced society, know or could know that information also. If you know what is going on and you do not act you are RESPONSIBLE for these crimes. If you do not know, again you are responsible, for not having the moral urge to know about these crimes.
The conclusion of an honest observer will be that you know!
In a ZNet Commentary of December 12, 2001 a question was raised which is historically of crucial significance. The question: “Does the ordinary American KNOW what the American Government has been doing to the other peoples of the world?” (Emphasis added). The answer given, then, was: “The majority of the Americans have (at least) a VAGUE idea of what is going on.” (Again, emphasis added).
The notion of you having only a “vague idea” was based on the assumption that you could not readily know the details. Details as these revealed by Yiannis Leloudas, a Greek poet and archaeologist, tortured by the US supervised 1967 military dictatorship in Greece, who in 1969 wrote:
“One does not mind the lack of food, but the lack of water is excruciating… a guard… allowed me to go to the toilet, where I managed to drink from the water pipe leading to the Turkish (type) toilet, my hands and my lips touching the excremrnts of others like myself left floating there…” These details found in the book “Barbarism in Greece” by James Becket, a Harvard Law School graduate, could not be available to the millions of ordinary Americans as there were only a few hundred copies of the book. But the details of more recent crimes are in the mainstream press available to millions of ordinary Americans.
Quite recently (May 5, ’05) in the International Herald Tribune there was the photo of a young white female, Private 1st Class Lynndie England, a member of the US military. Ms England exudes pride and self-confidence in the photo. In an instinctive flash, this photo brought to my mind the photo of another white female, Ilse Koch, which I had seen as a teenager in the Greek newspapers in 1947. Again, that (rather pretty) female face had pride and self-confidence.
Ilse Koch was a female guard in the Nazi Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. In 1937 she married Otto Koch who became the Commandant of the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp. In Buchenwald, as the wife of the Commandant, she selected prisoners to be killed in order to have lamp shades made from their tattooed skin.
For this she gained the “title” of the “Bitch of Buchenwald”. In 1947 she was tried by a war crimes tribunal and sentenced to a life term. In 1948, General Lucius Clay of the US Army (who in 1961, almost single-handedly started a nuke war with the Soviets, see ZNet Commentary of Nov. 15, 2001) commuted that sentence to four years’ time!
Eventually, she was tried by a German court on charges of her having abused and killed German inmates and sentenced to life, again. She spent the rest of her life in prison until she committed suicide in 1967.
Is it incorrect to compare Lynndie England to Ilse Koch? Whether or not Koch had lamp shades made out of human skin is not the crucial factor in this problem. What is of paramount importance is that the torture, even by insulting, of even a single human that is helpless and powerless is a crime. The acts of Koch and England show that through their upbringing, etc, they had become crooked personalities, harmful to their fellow-humans.
[Note: All my life I held the view that women were more benign or benevolent beings than men, even more rational. Of course, most ladies that heard this view thought that I was naive, because only a female can really understand her peers. Lately, I have being doubting about the correctness of this view of mine, yet I still believe that women are kinder.]
The argument against all the above usually is: what can the ordinary people do, even if they knew about the crimes? It is the Government or the President that are responsible.
The answer to you, the ordinary Americans is: yes, you can! Because, you had already acted against the violence of the US Government or the US President, in the past. You had scared the shit out of Nixon with your movement against the War in Vietnam. (Even if it was the US economic elites who stopped the war, their turn for your fury was pending).
You can do the same now. The President and the Congressmen should get the message that you do not APPROVE of their crimes. Approval, that you have granted to them now by waving little American patriotic flags.
The President and the Congressmen are irrelevant, they are “cardboard” figures playing theater inside the US, while they massacre people in other countries in your name. It is you, the ordinary Americans, the ones that have flesh and blood substance, who matter. But, it is also you, the ordinary Americans, that make the cardboard figures relevant, by your approval of their acts.
Some Greek journalists call the US President: The “planetarch” (the ruler of the planet, in Greek). The term is used half in jest. However, without probably intending, they denote the irrelevance of the “planetarchs” in history. Can anyone be a planetarch? Take Hitler, was he a planetarch? It was the ordinary Germans that made him relevant.
What if Johann Elser was successful in his attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1939 (see ZNet Commentary of 12/16/2000). And what if (a big if) the ordinary Germans were dancing in the streets for stopping the (by then) obnoxious murderer. Wouldn’t that dancing have made Hitler irrelevant?
The reference to the Nazis was intentional. The 12-year long Nazi period should be distinguished in the pre-WWII (preparatory) period and the (actual) WWII period. It seems that the US just passed its own Nazi-preparatory period and is advancing to its (actual) war-against-the-peoples-of-the-world period. Of course, it rests with me to prove that the comparison of the US to the Nazis is not an exaggeration (which I plan to do in a future Commentary).
But if I am right, it means that you, the ordinary Americans, are in the position of the ordinary Germans of 1939. Also, if I am right, for Bush (son of Barbara), for Rumsfeld, for ConDolcezza(!) Rice, etc ahead lies a Nuremberg Tribunal. The crimes of the Bush gang are not cause for a simple Impeachment they belong to a higher Christian Anglo-Saxon level.