Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A fucked up, immoral mess...

That report I link to in my previous post about the risk of the UK becoming a Dystopian surveillance state gets especially hung-up on the fact that many of the increased powers being taken by the state are, in turn, delegated to private companies

I share the authors’ seemingly out-dated view that there are some things that money can’t buy and therefore probably best not left to profit making entities to manage

Employing soldiers is quite high up on the list

People who bear arms for money have always had a certain stigma attached to their profession. Which is why so much effort has gone into rebranding mercenaries as ‘contractors’ in recent years. It’s unlikely that many people would give a fuck about stories of mercenaries being killed by Iraqi insurgents in quite the same way as hearing that ‘contractors’ have been done away with

People who serve in armies generally don’t carry that stigma and are usually accorded respect by most people.

That respect comes from the belief that those soldiers serve for something more than financial reward and have undertaken to risk their lives to protect the rest of us whilst we sleep peacefully in our beds

And even when our soldiers are stuck into some shitty, questionable situations by our politicians we still want to believe that our soldiers will do their honourable best to deal with those shitty, questionable situations

I think most of our soldiers want to believe that too

Which gets me onto a story someone emailed me (thanks AF)…

The news that a US National Guardswoman serving in Iraq, Ciara Durkin, was found shot in the head in Bagram Airbase last month

The US military initially told Durkin’s family that she died in action but now isn’t quite so sure.

The fact that Durkin was working as a finance clerk, had recently told family members that she had discovered something untoward and had urged them to press for an investigation in the event of her death does raise one or two questions

As does the fact that the list of US and UK soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq who have either a) been murdered, or b) so appalled by the immorality of corporate kleptowar that they’ve killed themselves, is beginning to stack up…

Colonel Ted Westhusing

A devout Catholic, father of three and a specialist in military ethics. Apparently he was so disgusted with the corruption of the mercenary contractor company he was liaising with and the reluctance of his superiors to deal with it that he shot himself in the head a month before he was due to return home. His suicide note read ‘I am sullied no more

Corporal Pat Tillman

A high profile recruit to the US armed forces who gave up a lucrative football career to serve his country. He was killed in action in Afghanistan and awarded a nice shiny posthumous medal for bravery in combat. His family later discovered that the medal citation was a pack of lies, that Tillman was shot in the face at close range with an American rifle and that evidence was deliberately destroyed immediately after his death. They’re not best pleased…

Apparently, Corporal Tillman was planning to return home and say one or two negative things about the war at the end of his tour...

Captain Ken Masters

A father of two and the British Military investigator in charge of the investigation into those two British soldiers caught driving around Basra in a car full of weapons dressed as Iraqis

Captain Masters didn’t complete the investigation and apparently decided to hang himself instead

Staff Sergeant Denise Rose

Another British Military investigator who committed suicide in Basra, after spending only a month in Iraq

The investigation into her death implied that the suicide had something to do with her being rebuked for being drunk in uniform the day before

I’m not putting forward any cleverly insightful conclusions about these stories. However, a little Googling of these people’s names and some reading up on the circumstances surrounding their deaths paints a picture of a totally fucked up mess, in Afghanistan and Iraq. A fucked up, immoral mess that’s killing people who are trying to do their best and killing those people in more ways than the bastards behind these wars want us to think about



Anonymous said...

Champion post Stef. Champion!
- lw

Shutter said...

Mr Master's "suicide" occurred just after General "The Army looks after it's own" Janus Jackson had visited Basra and had a teensy weeny tete a tete with him regarding springing two "special forces" from the local lock - up ...by demolishing it with 10 tanks, supported by helicopter gunships, releasing all the prisoners and letting of a round or two in which a few unfortunate locals hearts stopped beating .... forever 7 in total and 43 injured.

Mr Masters was in charge of the investigation.

The raid resulted in the death of 7 Iraqis and a further 43 injured.....

On the 14th October HMG formally almost apologized to Iraq and confirmed that it "will pay compensation for injuries and damage" (Times October 12th)"

An inquest at Swindon Coroner's Court, which was heard on 27th June 2006, found that Capt Ken Masters, a senior military police investigator in Iraq, took his own life. At the time he was
suffering from depression brought on by increasing workload and stress.

Warrant Officer Philip Floyd told the court: “He was very conscientious. He had a sense of frustration in that the procedures we had to conduct in the inquiries were hindered by forces outside of our control.”

Apparently he hung himself with his bootlaces.

Shutter said...

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:

We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.

Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face

The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck 'im out, the brute!"

But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy 'ow's yer soul?"

But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll-

The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,

O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes," when the drums begin to roll.

Rudyard Kipling

lwtc247 said...

Excellent summary of the strange circumstances involving the suiciding of McMaster there Shutter.

And yet we still hear the question "Why would the British/American Government kill 52/3000 of their own people on 7-7/9-11 ?"
Delete date, number and stinking to high hell government as necessary.

Bags a seat on the first colonization ship outta this hole.

Rory Winter said...

Well spoken Stef, you really are one of the best of British. A jolly, jolly good fellow for having the courage to say it like it is when surrounded by cowards.

BTW, have you seen Dr Gideon Polya's claims that total deaths in Bush I/Clinto/Bush II wars is 8 Million?

I saw it on Medialens the other day and have been publicising it as best I can.

Also, due to the apathy of those who should know better (I hope you're listening Shutter) the racist, SIO march looks like going ahead unimpeded.

Makes you proud to be a Londoner dunnit? Thank you so much, Mr 'Red gone Pink' Ken Livingstone, for making London a haven for the Nazis.

brendadada said...

Stef, you're wonderful.

Stef said...

I have my occasional moments

as do you ;)