Monday, February 19, 2007

"The Army You've Got"

The Washington Post this week highlights in disturbing detail how the Pentagon and this administration “supports” our troops and “thanks” them for their service—by treating their medical needs and the troops themselves as an irritating post-war expense.

Little wonder then that the Bush administration and its lackeys in the US military have similar contempt for their “coalition” partners and allies that they so often tout in their press releases and speeches.

Four years after two Air National Guard A-10 pilots strafed a clearly-marked patrol, killing one and injuring four British soldiers, the US finally released—only to the official government inquiry and the soldier’s families and NOT to the public—the cockpit video/audio recordings of the attack, and only after the footage had been leaked and published.
The US claimed “security” concerns in not releasing the tapes until now, an excuse of transparent breathtaking stupidity and arrogance they maintained for four years. And even now they refuse to let the pilots and the mission controller be interviewed or give written testimony to the UK inquiry.

The US was similarly uncooperative in another official inquiry into the shoot-down by a US Patriot missile battery of a returning British Tornado strike aircraft that killed the two-man crew, also very early in the Iraq war.

The Guardian is now reporting on yet another four-year old case of American obstruction and obfuscation regarding the actions of its troops against its allies.
US army officials are due in London this week to interview Corporal Jane McLaughlan, Staff Sergeant James Rogerson, Corporal Stephen Smith and their interpreter, Khalid Allahou, almost four years after all were seriously injured when their Land Rover was struck twice from behind by the US transporter. McLaughlan, who was driving, was unable to keep control and the Land Rover crashed off the road. All four passengers were thrown from the vehicle.
Although the initial British investigation managed to identify the American military unit and driver involved, the US authorities denied any record of the incident. Only after substantial pressure, said Doyle, did the Pentagon admit the existence of a three-page statement by the US National Guard convoy involved in the incident, which mentioned they 'had run some guys off the road'.
In the crash, McLaughlan, 35, sustained multiple skull fractures, brain damage and punctured internal organs. Rogerson, from Scotland, received head and spinal injuries and is understood to be due to leave the military this year as a result of his injuries. Allahou, who lives in Folkestone with a British wife and had volunteered as a translator for the British army, is also understood to have suffered long-term effects.
It seems the US just might actually own up to the incident (but not the cover-up of course) and possibly for the very first time pay compensation for just these three British soldiers injured through US military criminal incompetence.
But meanwhile US soldiers injured by the administrations policies are abandoned in the halls of Walter Reed or dumped at home without support. Bush is now proposing to reduce the budget of the VA even as its services are and will be more needed than ever.
The callous use and abuse of soldiers by Bush and his Pentagon cronies is criminal and sickening.


InternetJunkie said...

The U.S. Military has a long history of looking the other way when "friendly fire" and other collateral damage occurs. The cable car accident in Italy; the dropping of a laser-guided bomb on Canadian troops in Afghanistan; the attack on a wedding party celebration in that same country. How many times have U.S. military personnel committed rape in Japan and the Philippines, followed by a subsequent lack of cooperation on the part of the U.S. to bring the accused to justice?

The perception is that the United States is justified in all of its actions and does not need to explain itself to anyone. Unfortunately, the rest of the World does not feel the same way and rightly so. One of these days we may find ourselves as the recipient of a pre-emptive strike because of our arrogance.

5th Estate said...

"One of these days we may find ourselves as the recipient of a pre-emptive strike because of our arrogance."

Indeed. Even though 9/11 was the fault of homosexual abortionists called Clinton, the constant exploitation of that completely unpredicable attack by godless liberals is bound to give freedom hating freedom-haters who hate being forced to accept freedom or die, some emboldening ideas about attacking freedom,which will come as a complete suprise!

Seriously though...every country and every military inevitably does "bad things"--some worse than others. As a kid I assumed the British military could do no wrong---until I was forced to examine "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland, where in too many circumstances the British abandoned the principles they were supposed to be upholding.
The constant trickle of evidence forced me to grow-up and discard my naivete.

However the sheer institutionalized arragance of the US military is truly astounding. The command structure has accepted the abandonment of their own military code and the Geneva conventions. Such penalties for "misconduct" that they do prosecute are entirely political and inconsistent. And they have chosen to disregard international law utterly because they are backed by an administration that has done the same.
For all the talk of service and honor, the military as a whole ( and I mean the command that issues the policies and orders) serve nothing meaningful and have no honor--and it is the troops that suffer.
It amazes me that the likes of Tommy Franks (who has several medals of Valor--much more relevant than the vaunted Purple Heart) end up being so gutless when faced with the likes of Rumsfeld.

The US military is now the most mismanaged in the world.

betmo said...

thanks to cheney and rumsfeld- according to mccain (who incidentally has apologized to cheney but not to rummy for the position he took while on the not-yet-official campaign trail).

5th Estate said...

WALNUTS!-McCain is as deluded as Bush--even more so since he's using Bush's campaign strategies that were finally but clearly rejected in Nov. 2006.
I don;t knwo what pisses me off more--his stupidity or his assumtion of the public's stupidity.

Parklife said...

umm.. BOTH!


McCain has turned in such a weasel. Ahh.. what do you expect from one of the Keating Five.

I'm still waiting for McCain/Rummy/Dick/Bush to applogise to our troops. Damn troop haters.. They goto war with no plan and no armor. Worse.. no funding for the VA.