Revolution #206, July 4, 2010

Mindset of a U.S. Warrior

Different U.S. generals may have their own personal style of leadership. But McChrystal and Petraeus are war criminals and mass murderers who perfectly reflect the system they serve.

One thing that comes through so viscerally in the Rolling Stone article is the gross, macho, “kill ‘em all and let god sort them out” mentality that McChrystal both models and promotes. This is the mindset that leads to and justifies mass murder. The Rolling Stone article reports that, “The general’s staff is a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators and outright maniacs.” And this is not being questioned by Obama or the mainstream press. In fact, it’s either downplayed as “inappropriate” or written off as “locker room,” “boys will be boys” behavior. Some commentators have justified this by saying this is what U.S. generals always do. There is a view of, “what do you expect.... this kind of behavior comes with the job.” AND THEY ARE RIGHT ABOUT THIS.

Men like McChrystal and Petraeus perfectly reflect the imperialist military. War is the extension of politics by other means. And the military, especially its top commanders, are a personification of the imperialist aims and goals of the wars they command.

McChrystal is being criticized for making disparaging remarks about fellow officers and civilian officials. But no one is criticizing him for brazen remarks about the killing going on under his command. No one is critical of the fact that, as McChrystal himself admitted in an interview, “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.” (New York Times, 3/26/10)

People should read the ugly soldier banter in the Rolling Stone article. Then go watch the video from Wikileaks taken from cameras on U.S. Apache helicopters in Baghdad, Iraq in July 2007 (,_2007_Baghdad_airstrike_unedited_part1.ogv). You can hear the pilots’ radio transmissions and those of U.S. troops on the ground. You hear someone urging the pilot to "light 'em all up" and then people walking on the street are shot by the gunship's cannon. When a van arrives to rescue the wounded, it is fired upon. You see some slight movement and a voice says, “Looks like a kid.” Another one answers, "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle." Throughout the video you hear joking, laughing soldiers begging to be given permission to shoot. All together 12 people are killed, including two journalists working for Reuters.

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