In what has become a recurrent occurrence since the west launched its occupation of the Muslim lands after 9/11, Sunday 11 March 2012, saw a US Army staff sergeant (or by some accounts multiple US soldiers) massacre civilians in Kandahar. Armed in full battle gear, with reserves of ammunition the US soldier broke into three homes in a nearby village, massacring 16 people, including 9 children. Some reports suggest he burned the bodies. As news has spread across the world of this atrocity we make the following point that should be kept in mind as the aftermath of this sickening event spreads:
1) President Obama expressed “condolences” over the deaths, but insisted that the massacre of innocent civilians in their homes “does not represent the exceptional character of our military.” Recent history would suggest otherwise. Massive protests are still continuing in the wake of a February incident in which US soldiers conducted a massive, organized book burning including large numbers of Qur’ans. In January 2012 a video came to light that showed US marines urinating on dead Afghans. The mutilation of dead bodies, horrific abuse of prisoners in Bagram, rape of young girls and mindless civilian massacres have become the hallmark of America’s malicious crusade in Afghanistan. No matter how hard the US tries to downplay this incident, the latest episode is a vivid reminder to the rest of the world that barbarism and not emancipation from tyranny is the hallmark of America’s war machine.
2) Wherever the American military intervened, it has left behind a trail of death and destruction with criminal behaviour unworthy of a leading nation that so prides itself on tolerance. In Pakistan the US has indiscriminately killed unarmed civilians using drones and Special Forces, and has granted immunity to Raymond Davis for his cold blooded murder of Pakistanis in broad daylight. This clearly undermines America’s penchant for human rights it so evangelically preaches to the rest of the world. The cruel humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the senseless killing of unarmed civilians in Haditha are portent reminders about the fruits of America’s Iraqi occupation. Yet, despite such uncivilised acts perpetrated by America’s military, its soldiers are lavished with praise and their crimes against humanity overlooked.
3) There have been no serious efforts by America’s political establishment or senior officers to change the uncivilised conduct of US troops. Wherever they are stationed, the Pentagon immediately seeks immunity from prosecution, as a mandatory condition in exchange for security pacts or military aid. In other words, there are no repercussions for the evil acts committed by the US soldiers against indigenous populations. If by chance a US soldier is found guilty, sham trials are convened by the US military (like the conclusion of the Haditha massacre trial early this year) to ensure that punishment does not fit the crime. The US’s efforts to protect and safeguard the crimes of its military instil savagery within its personnel by making certain that barbarism is institutionalised.
4) Whilst the West continues to sell the rhetoric to its people and the world that without western military intervention both Afghanistan and Iraq would fall apart, the reality is if such forces were not there such barbaric acts would not be taking place. Western presence in the Muslim lands is the problem and has always been the case.
5) What is the root cause behind such shocking behaviour that defies human logic? The explanation that “a few rotten apples” are to blame is no longer plausible. Nor can America’s military culture be held solely responsible for nurturing a generation of young men and women who show scant respect for foreign cultures and people. America’s military culture is based on the same foundations as the rest of American society. The sole driver for such behaviour is freedom, which is the bedrock of America’s cherished ideals. American men and women, fed from a young age on a diet of freedom. After undergoing military training and when deployed overseas the culture of the indigenous population is seen as inferior and in need of replacing with freedom. Acts of aggression and massacres are viewed in light of liberating a country.
6) The Kandahar massacre is just one of a growing deluge of incidents that reveal the truth about western civilisation. It is barbaric, inhuman – the very antithesis of ‘civilised’ society.
Having begun to throw off the chains of oppression in many countries, as Muslims we have to ask ourselves if this is really the future we want for ourselves and our children? Surely we should turn to our own heritage, where we see that the values and systems of Islam brought not just prosperity but created the best nation on Earth in every way.