The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Body-burning in Afghanistan:
What really offends people is U.S. imperialism

Oct 24, 2005

After an Australian TV network showed U.S. soldiers burning the bodies of two Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan, the Bush administration sent U.S. embassies instructions for damage control. A State Department spokesman said that the incident, which would offend Muslims, does not represent “U.S. values” or the actions of the U.S. military.

That sure will be a tough sell. The soldiers burned the bodies demonstratively, precisely because they knew it would offend Muslims. Members of “psychological operations” announced the body burning with loudspeakers in order to anger other Taliban fighters and draw them out of their hide-outs.

And it’s not just a question of this one incident. By now it has become almost routine for U.S. officials to issue apologies for supposed “mistakes” such as bombing civilians, or for a few “bad apples” who are supposedly responsible for torturing prisoners. No one believes them anyway, because they apologize only when an incident is widely publicized in the media. Even then, they never put the blame on the higher-ups in the chain of command who make the policies and give the orders. And, most importantly, these policies and practices continue.

People around the world – including in this country – know all this. If, today, hundreds of millions of people around the world see the U.S. as an aggressor and “the enemy,” it’s not because of an occasional incident here and there. It’s because the U.S. systematically bombs, invades and occupies other countries. It’s because the U.S. government supports brutal dictatorships. It’s because the U.S. government tries to control the people and resources of other countries for the benefit of big U.S. corporations.

In short, what really turns people around the world against the U.S. is U.S. imperialism.