As the US grows desperate to re-establish credibility in the Middle East, having failed to stem the rise of terrorism across the region, and in response to Russia’s intervention in Syria, Washington is now clearly in danger of losing the plot.
Evidence for this comes on the back of the recent airstrike carried out by US jets over Mosul, targeting an ISIS facility allegedly containing a huge amount of cash intended to pay its fighters and finance future military operations. According to a CNN report on the Mosul airstrike, “US commanders had been willing to consider up to 50 civilian casualties from the airstrike due to the importance of the target. But the initial post-attack assessment indicated that perhaps five to seven people were killed.”
This is an astounding statement, cynical in its disregard for civilian lives and dripping in hypocrisy when we consider the efforts that have been made by Western ideologues and their governments to demonize Russia over its intervention in Syria, accusing it of striking civilian targets with blithe disregard for the consequences.
Imagine if a Russian military commander made a statement such as this, openly acknowledging that civilians would be killed in future Russian airstrikes. The uproar across Western media platforms would be off the scale. There would likely even be attempts to convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in order to censure the Russian government, along with a concerted attempt to isolate Moscow and reduce it to pariah status.
Yet, when US officials make such statements it’s reported as if it was just another day in the Empire.
In the same CNN news report, we are informed that, “In recent weeks, the US has said it will assess all targets on a case-by-case basis and may be more willing to tolerate civilians casualties for more significant targets.”
Though undeniably shocking in its callousness, for those familiar with the history of US military operations it will come as no surprise. In Korea and Vietnam in the 1950s and 60s, for example, the US waged total war against civilians. They carpet bombed both countries until the landscape was utterly devastated, in addition to using napalm and chemical weapons such as Agent Orange to destroy crops, rice paddies and, with it, the means of survival for millions of human beings.
In his 1970 expose of the notorious massacre of My Lai in Vietnam, US investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reveals how, “they [US soldiers] were setting fire to the hootches [villagers homes] and huts and waiting for people to come out and then shooting them…they were going into the hootches and shooting them up…they were gathering people in groups and shooting them. The whole thing was so deliberate. It was point blank murder…”
Towards the end of Hersh’s report we learn that army investigators, visiting My Lai afterwards, “found mass graves at three sites, as well as a ditch full of bodies. It was estimated that between 450 and 500 people – most of them women, children and old men – had been slain and buried there.”
Another US war crime, connected to the Vietnam War, was the carpet bombing of Cambodia across the Vietnamese border. Many consider this to have been genocidal in its destruction of the country and the sheer number of people slaughtered. Even worse it created the conditions in the country out of which the Khmer Rouge emerged, offering a striking parallel with the Middle East today considering the role the war in Iraq played in destabilizing the region with the emergence of ISIS the result.
A pickup truck carries a group of armed Khmer Rouge guerrillas. © Reuters
Australian journalist and filmmaker John Pilger visited Cambodia in the 1970s, after the toppling of Pol Pot, reporting on the horror and suffering its people had endured under his perverse regime. Pilger writes,“During one six-month period in 1973, B-52s dropped more bombs in 3,695 raids on the populated heartland of Cambodia than were dropped on Japan during all of the Second World War: the equivalent, in tons of bombs, of five Hiroshimas.”
Not content with bombing Cambodia into the arms of Pol Pot and his ‘Year Zero’ genocidal project, the US went on to support and aid the Khmer Rouge after the country was liberated by the Vietnamese in 1979, during which the group was chased across the border into neighboring Thailand. Pilger reveals that the“reason for this [US support for the Khmer Rouge] stemmed from the fact that Cambodia’s liberators had come from the wrong side of the Cold War. The Vietnamese, who had driven the Americans from their homeland, were not to be acknowledged in any way as liberators, and they and the Khmer people would suffer accordingly.”
In reality the history of the US when it comes to slaughtering civilians, or aiding their slaughter and suffering, provides enough material for a thousand articles never mind one. The image of itself it tries to promote to the gullible and guileless, mostly its own people, is of a nation that stands for the highest standards of moral rectitude, decency, and honor in its dealings with the rest of the world. The truth is exactly the opposite. The truth is that Washington is verily drowning in the blood of innocent people, deemed surplus to the requirements of US hegemony.
Syria today is no different, which is why nobody should be surprised at such open and naked disregard for innocent civilians, revealed in the words of US officials vis-à-vis future US airstrikes.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.