The Spark

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

Editorial:
U.S. Get Out of Afghanistan NOW!

Mar 19, 2012

A U.S. staff sergeant, in Afghanistan on his fourth combat deployment, went on a murderous rampage in the early morning hours of March 11. He broke into Afghan homes while the families slept, and shot 16 in cold blood, mostly women and children. Then he set some of the corpses on fire. These were civilians murdered in their own homes, in their own beds.

U.S. authorities tried to explain away what happened by saying it was only one soldier, and that he might have been suffering from some kind of post-traumatic stress from the war, after serving three combat tours in Iraq, before this latest one in Afghanistan.

Maybe he did snap, but what he did is no different from what squads of soldiers have been doing, under orders, week after week, for ten years: entering the houses of civilians, destroying everything, and beating or shooting people if they make the smallest gesture of defiance.

If the sergeant snapped, he simply did what he and others had been taught to do and what he had been doing in Iraq and in Afghanistan: killing indiscriminately.

These are not the first or only mass killings of civilians at the hands of soldiers from the U.S. forces occupying Afghanistan. Some have already been exposed. Others – no one knows how many – have been covered up or dismissed as mere “collateral damage” in a combat operation.

Nor is this the only U.S. war in which such actions have taken place. From My Lai in Vietnam, to Haditha in Iraq, to Panjwai in Afghanistan, the chain of atrocities goes on, as soldiers are turned into killing machines.

This act of an individual soldier, carrying out a personal attack on Afghan civilians, was a horrific act of terrorism. But it is only a very tiny part of this much larger war of terrorism carried out against the Afghan population by the U.S. military, at the direction of the U.S. government, first under Bush, then under Obama.

The authorities pretend that the massacre was an act of individual insanity.

Here is the real insanity: the massacre of Afghan civilians carried out by the most powerful military in the world for more than ten years – all so the U.S. can put its hands on this “strategic” piece of land that controls access to a lot of the world’s oil.

No accurate count of Afghan civilian casualties exists. The number officials give of 35,000 dead is an underestimate. But a real measure of the terror is how many have fled their homes. Perhaps seven million have been displaced from their homes, pastures, farms, and livelihoods.

Afghan children grow up terrorized, liable to be fired on without warning by soldiers on the ground or from planes and drones above.

Afghan society is torn apart. The Afghan government – installed, continually financed and used by the U.S. – is among the most corrupt on earth.

This insanity is carried out for the sake of profits, for the sake of enabling multinational corporations to steal the resources of small defenseless countries.

People in this country are not immune from the effects of this insane war, and obviously the soldiers are not. Veterans with wounds visible and invisible must try to find a job. But capitalist society has few jobs for them. And this society devotes few resources to their rehabilitation.

Families and neighborhoods in the U.S. are left to deal with the walking time bombs of soldiers used up by the wars, and thrown away.

Blood for profit – this is the insane logic of the U.S. terrorist wars on other people.

Let the profits of the multinationals be damned! Stop this war – the U.S. out of Afghanistan NOW! COMPLETELY!