Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Military Dishonored by Past Policy of Everyone’s Expendable

Dear President Bush.

America does not target civilians. That is what makes us different than the terrorists. What if this were proven wrong? Two recent stories cast doubt on the moral high ground America claims at times of war. The first is the assassination of the families in Haditha last November. Several soldiers ordered to clean up afterwards have relayed to their families their version of the disturbing events.

The second story concerns a letter in 1950 from the U.S. Ambassador in Seoul that clearly states the U.S. policy of shooting South Korean refugees. Soldiers were ordered to shoot refugees approaching their lines. Hundreds of civilians lined up on top of a railroad embankment while military aircraft opened fire. Ground troops finished the job on people huddling underneath a nearby railroad bridge.

The story broke in 1999 after certain documents were unclassified. The Pentagon conducted a 16 month investigation and found it to be an unfortunate tragedy blaming the shootings on “panicky soldiers”. The Associated Press found at least 19 declassified military documents showing the chain of command ordered the killing of non combatants in 1950-51.

The dehumanization of all involved leads to such actions whether there is official sanction or not. The military order to kill innocents strips our democracy of any moral authority it claims to have in conducting war. Will you bring this up next Memorial Day when you recall the fallen? Will you honor those executed by our fighting forces? Write me back, I want to know.

P.S. The Army’s report indicates they reviewed the microfilm containing the incriminating letter but chose to leave it out of their report. That sounds very familiar as the White House’s Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned report also left out key information, most notably the hospital company where 24 patients died. Did your Dad make a request on behalf of their corporate owner, the Carlyle Group?

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