Why special forces are special.
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Army Major Andrew Golsteyn is charged with premeditated murder because he killed an Afghan man suspected of making bombs, including a bomb that killed two US Marines. This is stirring up controversy because Golsteyn is a war hero with numerous combat decorations and many people believe this should grant him immunity for any war crimes he may have committed. In fact, many people believe US military personnel don’t really commit crimes when they act as judge, jury and executioner.
For a long time, particularly since our military became professionalized, our forces have been acting more and more like mercenaries, not subject to the traditional rules of conduct. In addition, the type of wars we fight add to the confusion. Our troops are placed in situations that are war-but-not-war, similar to what we got ourselves into in Vietnam. We regard the rules as more flexible, and we accept summary executions for revenge. General James Mattis says, “There are some assholes that just need to be shot.” That’s a pretty clear indication that on-the-spot executions are accepted at the highest levels.
I am interested in whether or not Golsteyn is convicted and punished, but I’m far more interested in the public debate about his case. So far, sentiment seems to be on his side, with the justification that he did what he had to do to protect his comrades. His wife is on a publicity tour, warning the nation that charging heroes with murder will result in a military full of Chelsea Mannings and Bo Bergdahls. And she is right. To enforce our foreign policy as it exists now, we need a military full of people like her husband, men who are willing to execute suspects because there is a chance they might do something bad if released. We need a president willing to approve a drone strike that destroys an entire village to kill a minor Taliban lackey. Most Americans approve of such a structure, staffed with eager and willing killers from top to bottom.
As the debate goes on, I expect to see the racism emerge. So far, Golsteyn’s defenders have been careful to avoid citing the “one less raghead” principle, but that will appear soon enough. I’m surprised the president hasn’t included it in a tweet. The whole thing is likely to end when Trump issues a pardon, perhaps even before the case gets to a military court. This will be a popular move, not just among the rabid base, but throughout the nation as a whole. It endorses the idea of American exceptionalism that includes the idea we are so exceptional we can kill anyone, anywhere, in small or large numbers, by any means we choose. It also reinforces the idea that our military is a de-facto mercenary force, hired to do our dirty work, no questions asked.
December 19, 2018 at 12:58 PM #2413retired liberalParticipant
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They do the bidding of our well funded, corporatists leaders.
We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.
The older we get, the less "Life in Prison" is a deterrent.
Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.
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