Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WikiLeaks reveals civilians are fair game in US war tactics

Courtesy:RT Russian international English TV


WikiLeaks reveals civilians are fair game in US war tactics

Published 27 July, 2010, 09:40

The US military is desperately trying to close-in on the sources behind the biggest leak in its history: the latest major Wikileaks exposé that includes evidence of the killing of innocent citizens.

Pentagon chiefs admit it will take weeks to assess the damage to US-led operations in Afghanistan after the latest revelations on something that any military would try to keep under wraps – civilians killed during an operation.

This April, the Pentagon saw one of its skeletons walk out of the closet: a secret video of American soldiers opening what looks like indiscriminate fire in a Baghdad suburb three years ago.

Back then, more than a dozen people were reported dead, including two Reuters news staff. Two children were wounded.

The incident was investigated and the US military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement". So while the US military is OK with causing some “collateral damage”, (as civilians deaths in the course of action are known), a number of soldiers who were involved in those killings are now speaking out, saying this should not be a norm of warfare.

Ethan McCord, a solider with the unit that is shown in the video, says it was not a one-off experience. He went as far as to say soldiers in his unit were ordered to kill civilians in certain circumstances.

McCord said the message they got from their commander was: “If someone in your line gets hit with an Improved Explosive Device – 360 rotational fire. You kill every motherfucker on the street.”

Josh Steiber served in the same unit as Ethan McCord. He refused to talk about the order because of, he claims, the threats and warnings he has received from his former army fellows.

But the secret video of helicopter killings seemed nothing unusual to him.

“From my experiences, what was shown in that video is not uncommon. Things like that happen on a fairy regular basis,” confessed former soldier Josh Stieber.

Josh says the training they went through did not ingrain much sensitivity either

Josh and a group of other former soldiers are now touring the US, telling people of their experiences and their regret.

“To me, it was when I was finally able to put myself in the shoes of other people and really start to imagine how I would feel if people were doing to me what I was doing to the people on regular basis – storming into people’s homes, sometimes in the middle of the night, and see children’s faces.”

Some blame the type of war the US was fighting for the psychological trauma so many American soldiers are now going through.

“It was a very disorienting and destabilizing condition of warfare for most American soldiers to try to separate the benign populace from the insurgency that wanted to kill him that were indistinguishable from regular civilians,” claimed New York writer Jim Frederick.

Ethan McCord and Josh Steiber signed a letter of apology to the mother of the children hurt during the operation, and pledged to change from the inside out.

America's military chiefs are bracing themselves for more to come. The WikiLeaks website is promising that further revelations are on the way.

The online whistleblower is now checking into reports dealing with American conduct in Iraq.

It is thought they could expose similar findings to the thousands of documents already posted online.

They include details of civilian casualties at the hands of US and allied troops, as well as concerns that Pakistani intelligence helped the Taliban insurgency.

The White House described the release as a breach of federal law and a threat to American military personnel.

Courtesy:RT Russian international English TV