Jordanians gathered in the capitol city of Amman to mourn the death of Lt. Moaz al Kasasbeh, a pilot in the nation's air force, who was executed by ISIS militants this week. (Photo: AFP)
I would not be quick to rush to determine what this new horror means. As pointed out this horror is not new in the sense that innocent people are not regularly incinerated as ‘collateral’ to war, but new in that we are forced to contemplate such a death in a way that makes us look right at it. It is too easy to think about the USA going to war and not think about what that means; horrible, horrible suffering of people, combatants and civilians alike. Personally I felt more than a bit broken when I read the Jordanian captive had been burned to death in a cage. And it is easy to feel as though such a death is isolated, that such horror and suffering is isolated and a new development. But it is not. It is not. That is the real kick in the face, and there is no way to claim ones personal humanity and say this form of violence that causes this kind of suffering is justified, while that one is not. There is no justice in violence and we will not know justice until we see this and stop it. And we can. Yes, we can.
A year or so ago, a friend sent me a film which he had received from a relative with a note, "Hi Uncle, just thought you’d like to see what we are doing out here.’
- The film was from a helicopter at a pretty high altitude. It was using an infrared camera, as you could see every person and animal in pretty sharp detail. There was a Pashtun village below, a group of tents and some tethered animals. A couple of kids ran out and looked up, then ducked back into a tent. Someone said “Don’t hit the tents, there are women and children in there.”
- The camera continued to pan, showing twenty-five or thirty men climbing the slope toward the hilltop. Apparently there was a US or NATO force climbing the other side of the hill to attack the tents. You could see every one of the Pashtuns, clearly. The helicopter reported the positions and was told to take them out. About thirty or forty seconds of automatic weapons fire and they all lay dead. The chopper was asked if there were any more on the hill. the Chopper said one was crawling near the top of the hill. “Take him out,” was the order. I’m out of ammo, the chopper said. Use a missile then, and they did.
- I commented to my friend that, indeed, it was a graphic display of our technological progress, but all I saw were bodies of men that had tried to protect their village and families and, a village of widows and orphans.
- Don’t you think there just might be some blowback from those tactics, used over and over for years?
In the movie, Lawrence of Arabia", there was a scene involving a transgression by a member of the one of contingents’ groups. While it was agreed he should be executed, no one could decide who should pull the trigger. Lawrence ended up poppin’ a .455 in the guy’s dome. This scene, though fictionalized, has been played over and over, the world over. There will always be someone - a sap, activist, militant, or mook, willing to take the shot. As a previous commenter indicated, there is no justice in violence. Especially in a society where violence and justice are mutually inclusive. One answer may be to stop glamorizing the one who takes the shot.
What’s most scary about the Eternal War Axis – Washington, London and the usual suspects in the Europe and the Mideast – is that they now seem to be totally disconnected from reality. Every day brings a new proclamation of fake outrage or a completely false interpretation of events, as if the press releases are being written by the Mad Hatter. They poke the crazy Mideast fanatics in the eye with a sharp stick, then react with crocodile tears when the fanatics respond predictably. They stage an illegal coup in Ukraine, then pretend to be “defending democracy” when they attempt to set up yet another NATO stronghold in that buffer state. Not surprisingly, the official positions of the U.S. government and its European poodles sound a lot like the fake-premise “analysis” aired on Fox News and in the other lapdog media, probably because the Eternal War Axis sprang from corporate management and corporate advertising, which has always considered truth to be strictly optional.
HELP! I’m trapped in a neo-con wet dream and I can’t get out.
It occurred to me last night that these media executions are not at all what they seem to be. Meted out, in a singular steady procession, for the horrification of the citizens of the quivering homeland. In short, a CIA or other dark ops by our very own government. What purpose does it serve the real Jihad to enrage those that are not yet involved militarily against it? If these misgivings are misplaced it is the result of long abuse by our lying government and the echo chamber that is our msm.
A 60 something man with whom I work out at the YMCA every morning asked me if I saw the video on the Jordanian pilot burned alive. When I said no, he said to me, "when I saw that story it got me so angry I was ready to go down and re-enlist in the Marines and go fight. I counseled him against it by saying, “that’s the idea of the whole thing anyway”. War is a very profitable business but it doesn’t work unless ordinary people like us are willing to participate. The CIA trained, equipped, and $upported these goons (thank you very much General Petraeus!) and now they are seeking even more wealthy and power than they already have.
This to me is the essence of what is wrong with the entire GWOT gambit and why the violence is getting more and more gross with every passing day. Remember what Nancy Reagan said about combating drug abuse and “just say no” to the sensationalist garbage being spoon fed to the masses by our collective media.
The victim was a pilot. My guess is the burning was meant to represent the kind of death dealt by aircraft. It was also meant to amp up the horrific nature of the executions. They want the same thing the neo-cons want: an apocalyptic battle between judeo-christianity and Islam.
I’ve seen so many posts on HuffPo of people all angry at ISIS and happy that Jordan did this. In their mind the prisoners Jordan executed deserved it because of what ISIS had done. They want the USA to do more of this. A lot of them were saying they’d like Obama to execute all the Gitmo detainees.
What is wrong with so many of us? Why is it that they can’t see that this attitude is the exact same attitude that ISIS has? Why can’t they see that from ISIS point of view the ones they execute deserve it because they are part of the USA’s oppression of them?
I detest both Jordan and ISIS’ actions here. I denounce all killing of prisoners. I also denounce the violence the USA does with its drones.
I find myself becoming more vocal on this and more outspoken.
I call on all troops involved in our wars to refuse to take these orders any more, to go to the Capitol and pour blood on its steps to protest the violence.
We still set ourselves up in privileged position where the damage we do to innocents is collateral damage , (regrettable but neccesary) but the torture and killing of hostages by Isus is hideous and repellant. The logic underlying both acts is the logic of retaliatory violence-mess with me and I’ll
make you so sorry. After Cain killed Abel he warned that if any took their revenge it would be melted out 7 fold. And God blessed that injunction. It didn’t work out that way. War continued and by the end of Genesis the revenge escalated to 70 to one threats. when will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?
I wonder how many Jordanians are aware of the fact that their fearless great king allowed ISIS to train on Jordanian soil and helped to arm and pay them as well? Probably about as many as the number of amerikans who are aware of it!
At the end of Jon Queally’s article, this sentence says it all in the “if not” clause:
“As I wrote in response to Obama’s State of the Union speech, state-sanctioned violence in response to non-state actor violence will continue to produce an endless cycle of violence if not coupled with addressing the conditions - unemployment, humiliation, lack in governance - that produce terrorism in the first place.”
At times I think we should pull out of the Middle East entirely; but then I try to figure out what constructive part we have in addressing the conditions we have helped create, from the artificial division into countries after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI to the recent erasure of so much of the life and culture of the region.
I also detest ALL the senseless killing, most especially of the innocent civilians ,women and children everyday. Why is it ok, no mass media coverage when women, children and so many other innocent people, who are already suffering and struggling in war zones that are also these innocents home, when they are disintegrated by air strikes from so many countries claiming, “necessary collateral damage”?