Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tsujigiri, by any other name...

If you're a US citizen, then you're obligated to be aware of this (I had to hear about it from Pharyngula).

The news should be all over this - by the stars, that's what journalism is for - and yet we hear not a peep. The below video is probably not for the faint of heart. I watched it, and you'll get much more gruesome scenes out of Hollywood, but the problem is that it's real here, and what it shows is US troops firing on unarmed civilians including children:
For those who declined to desensitize themselves a bit more, here's the skinny: on the 12th of July 2007, a couple of Reuters reporters and about half a dozen other civilians were walking through town. Then, out of nowhere, gunships opened fire on them for no reason at all. Apparently, these boys never saw the training video on distinguishing cameras from AKs & RPGs. When guys in a van with kids showed up to help one of the wounded escape, the troops fired upon the van. Afterwards, as the children were being carried from the scene, someone remarked, "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle." Way to blame the victim.

In the New York Times, Lt-Col Scott Bleichwehl said, "There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force." This is beyond lying and beneath contempt - this was not combat, it was cold-blooded murder. Aside from "coalition forces", every single word of that statement is misleading euphemism or blatant falsehood. Let me fix it for you, Scott, since you're apparently truth-impaired: "There is no question that men with guns were clearly engaged in reckless homicide against unarmed civilians."

Back in feudal Japan, samurai did something called tsujigiri, which was explained as a test of the samurai's sword. A warrior's life depends largely on his weapon (more on his skill and cunning, but still), so this is an understandable practice. Oh, except for the part where they test their swords on civilians in the street. That makes it ruthless savagery, plain and simple.


Typhinius said...

I didn't watch the whole thing...I really didn't want to. It's a horrible tragedy and the gov't lying about it is reprehensible, but honestly, it was an honest mistake. I'm not saying it isn't absolutely is, but war is horrible. Did those troops fuck up? Absolutely. But that is the nature of war. Shoot before you're shot.

Stuff like this is why I think war is retarded, but I feel like everyone is making too big a deal out of this. Did any of you actually think this wasn't the sort of shit that was going on? This wasn't troops going to excess, it was troops doing what they were trained to do, unfortunately, they made a mistake that led them to fire on civilians. I guess people are making a big deal out of it because they didn't think about this sort of thing, but actions like this are going to happen as a consequence of war. No matter how much you try to not attack civilians, mistakes are going to happen, and it is absofuckinglutely horrible...but not surprising.

Maybe everyone is making a big deal out of this because they didn't want to think about this as a consequence of war. I don't know. But I guarantee this stuff happens regularly, and we don't hear about it. This is a normal outgrowth of what war is. War sucks. We shouldn't ever get involved in it if at all possible. But this is what war is and to think otherwise is just willful blindness.

Typhinius said...

Wow. That post was horribly written; I suppose because I'm shocked by how big a deal everyone is making out of this. Anyway, I think my points are reasonably clear even if the writing is awful.

XPK said...

@Typhinius - If you didn't watch the whole thing, then why are you commenting? I think many people understand that mistakes are made. I admit that in the grainy video the cameras could be mistaken as weapons. Perhaps, if you ignore the fact that the gunner says they are being fired upon when they clearly are not being fired upon, you can say the first salvo was an "honest mistake". What happens in the second half of the video, the part that perhaps you missed, was the helicopter shooting up a van that was arriving on the scene to pick up an injured person and get them to safety. Why, for any reason, you would shoot unarmed people who were trying to get an injured (and now unarmed) person to a hospital/safety is surprising.