Amerikansk veteran fra Fallujah: Vi var fjenden

Vi var angriberne, og det vi gjorde, var forkert og bygget på løgne, skriver U.S. Marine Ross Caputi i The Guardian:

It has been seven years since the end of the second siege of Fallujah – the US assault that left the city in ruins, killed thousands of civilians, and displaced hundreds of thousands more; the assault that poisoned a generation, plaguing the people who live there with cancers and their children with birth defects.

It has been seven years and the lies that justified the assault still perpetuate false beliefs about what we did.

I know, because I am one of those American veterans. In the eyes of many of the people I “served” with, the people of Fallujah remain dehumanised and their resistance fighters are still believed to be terrorists. But unlike most of my counterparts, I understand that I was the aggressor, and that the resistance fighters in Fallujah were defending their city.

It is also the seventh anniversary of the deaths of two close friends of mine, Travis Desiato and Bradley Faircloth, who were killed in the siege. Their deaths were not heroic or glorious. Their deaths were tragic, but not unjust.

How can I begrudge the resistance in Fallujah for killing my friends, when I know that I would have done the same thing if I were in their place? How can I blame them when we were the aggressors?

It could have been me instead of Travis or Brad. I carried a radio on my back that dropped the bombs that killed civilians and reduced Fallujah to rubble. If I were a Fallujan, I would have killed anyone like me. I would have had no choice. The fate of my city and my family would have depended on it. I would have killed the foreign invaders.

Travis and Brad are both victims and perpetrators. They were killed and they killed others because of a political agenda in which they were just pawns. They were the iron fist of American empire, and an expendable loss in the eyes of their leaders.

I do not see any contradiction in feeling sympathy for the dead US Marines and soldiers and at the same time feeling sympathy for the Fallujans who fell to their guns. The contradiction lies in believing that we were liberators, when in fact we oppressed the freedoms and wishes of Fallujans. The contradiction lies in believing that we were heroes, when the definition of “hero” bares no relation to our actions in Fallujah.

What we did to Fallujah cannot be undone, and I see no point in attacking the people in my former unit. What I want to attack are the lies and false beliefs. I want to destroy the prejudices that prevented us from putting ourselves in the other’s shoes and asking ourselves what we would have done if a foreign army invaded our country and laid siege to our city.

Læs endelig det hele.

Guantanamo – amerikansk tortur med britisk hjælp

Fra dagens Guardian, om en retssag, der skal afklare efterretningstjenesten MI5s mulige indblanding i en sag om bortførelse og tortur af en britisk borger:

Mohamed, a UK resident, was initially held in Pakistan in 2002 and was later secretly rendered to Morocco, where he claimed that he was tortured and had his penis lacerated while further threats were made. He was then flown by the US authorities to Afghanistan, where he claims he was subjected to further ill-treatment and interrogation, at the end of which he said that he would have said anything to avoid further punishment

In September 2004, he was taken to Guantánamo Bay, where he is still held. He claims that all his confessions were a result of the torture. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Den amerikanske regering ser helst ikke, at den britiske domstol afklarer, hvad der er sket:

  • ‘The US state department today warned that disclosure of secret information in the case of a British resident said to have been tortured before he was sent to Guantánamo Bay would cause “serious and lasting damage” to security relations between the two countries – the “national security of the UK” would be affected’
  • Oversættelse: “National security would be affected” = “det er alt for pinligt for os, det her”

Er der noget om tortur-snakken? En af de implicerede efterretningsagenter var i hvert fald bange for at udtale sig under vidneansvar:

Last week, in the initial hearing of the case, the high court found that MI5 had participated in the unlawful interrogation of Mohamed. It emerged that one MI5 officer was so concerned about incriminating himself that he initially declined to answer questions from the judges even in private… It was disclosed that the officer, Witness B, was questioned about alleged war crimes, including torture, under the international criminal court act.

Det tyder som udgangspunkt ikke godt. Vi bemærker, at som altid, når det handler om Guantanamo og de mennesker, der er havnet i dette helvede af en moderne koncentrationslejr, er det en helt usædvanligt ubehagelig historie.

Jeg håber, de skyldige ender med at få deres straf (og det er ikke den efter alt at dømme ganske uskyldige hr. Mohamed, jeg tænker på).