How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

(Indirectly via Austro-Athenian Empire 2009-01-25: The Atrocity of Hope.)

Guided by these principles once more we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we’ll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken — you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

— President Barack Hussein Obama (29 January 2009): Inaugural Address

The problem with that is that every day that United States government soldiers spend on beginning to leave, instead of actually leaving — every day that is spent on that responsibly instead of that leaving — every day that is spent in the forging of peace in Afghanistan, rather than in the practicing of it, by withdrawing all United States government soldiers immediately and completely — is another day when innocent Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis will be killed by this Peace President’s army and his policy of gradualism. Another day when yet more innocent people will be killed in the name of prolonging the final end of wars now universally acknowledged as catastrophic failures and stupid mistakes.

Yesterday in Iraq, Barack Obama’s responsibly leaving army blockaded a village, invaded a family home at 2:00 in the morning, and gunned down a mother and father in the bed they shared with their 9 year old daughter. (The girl, besides being orphaned, was also wounded by the gunfire.)

An Iraqi couple was killed in their bed Saturday morning as their daughter slept between them when U.S. forces raided their home.

The U.S. military said that the raid, in the area of Hawija, just west of Kirkuk, was an Iraqi government-approved operation against a wanted man and that the killings were in self-defense. But the family described the slayings of a modest farmer and his wife and the wounding of their daughter by U.S. forces as the three slept.

According to a U.S. military statement, at 2 a.m. U.S. and Iraqi soldiers entered the bedroom where the couple lay and the woman reached under the mattress. The soldiers told her multiple times to show her hands; when she didn’t, they shot her, the statement said.

The woman’s husband, Dhia Hussein Ali, jumped up and physically attacked the soldiers after his wife was shot, the statement said. The soldiers killed him in self-defense, the statement said. The couple’s 9-year-old daughter, Alham, was injured during the attack.

. . .

In the small village where Dhia Hussein Ali lived, his children and his father questioned the reason for the raid. Ali was a modest farmer with a small fish pool where he raised the popular carp eaten in Iraq, they said. The man was a former officer in Saddam Hussein’s army.

Omar Dhia Hussein, 14, was in shock Saturday night. He said in a telephone interview that in the morning he’d seen his parents’ bodies side by side in their bed, the sheets covered in blood. The wall was covered with his father’s blood, he said.

At 2 a.m., Omar said, he heard a bang of a percussion grenade. When he opened his eyes he saw American soldiers standing over him in the room where he slept with his two sisters. Except for an Iraqi interpreter there were no Iraqis with the Americans, he said.

The interpreter shouted at the young boy.

You are hiding weapons, Omar recalled the interpreter saying. Where are you hiding the weapons? You are terrorists, you are hiding weapons in that unfinished house. Confess!

Omar began to cry and his sisters wept with him, he said. Then the American soldiers left and he heard gunfire next door. The soldiers carried Omar’s wounded sister from the room and took the remaining four children, including Omar, to his uncle’s home. Outside were at least four U.S. Humvees and two SUVs, Omar said. His grandfather, Hussein Ali, who lives next door saw no Iraqi soldiers, either.

After the Americans left, Omar and his sisters returned to their home with their grandfather. In his parents’ bedroom, Omar said, he saw his father’s body at the very edge of the right side of the bed, motionless and bloody.

His mother lay in the middle of the bed in a pool of her own blood. She’d been shot in the head, the family said.

Calgary Herald (2009-01-24): U.S. military raid kills Iraqi man, woman in their bed

Reporting from Baghdad — U.S. forces killed a couple and wounded their 9-year-old daughter during a raid on their home in northern Iraq early Saturday, U.S. military and Iraqi officials said.

The U.S. military said the man was suspected of being part of the militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq, but local officials said he was a retired colonel with no links to insurgent groups.

. . .

People in the village of Alewya, where the couple lived, said the raid involved helicopters and a security cordon that sealed off the village.

— Ned Parker and Saif Hameed, Los Angeles Times (2009-01-25): U.S. troops in Iraq kill couple, wound daughter in raid on home

On Friday, in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s army forged peace by trooping into Laghman province, surrounding houses in a village, and then launching a raid where they killed 16 civilians — 2 women, 3 children, and 11 men — with gunfire and precision bombs dropped from planes.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has criticised a US military operation which killed at least 16 people in eastern Afghanistan.

Mr Karzai said most of those killed were civilians, adding that such deadly incidents strengthened Taleban rebels and weakened Afghanistan’s government.

Women and children were among those killed, Mr Karzai said.

The strike was the first controversy in Afghanistan involving US troops since US President Barack Obama took office.

In a statement, the president said two women and three children were among the dead in the attack, which the US said targeted a militant carrying a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).

. . .

In response, a US military spokesman said there were plans to jointly investigate the incident with the Afghan government.

Originally the US said all of the dead, including one woman, had been militants who opened fire after its troops surrounded a compound in Mehtar Lam, about 60km (40 miles) east of the capital, Kabul.

. . .

However, officials in Laghman have since said there were civilians among the dead, a viewpoint now backed by the country’s president.

The US military insists that it goes to considerable lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

But the BBC’s Ian Pannell in Kabul says that as the US increases its military presence, it will be increasingly difficult to do so.

— BBC News (2009-01-25): Karzai anger at US strike deaths

On Friday, in Pakistan, Barack Obama’s army forged peace by firing missiles repeatedly into houses in several villages in the Waziristan region. Barack Obama’s missiles killed twenty-two people, about 15 of them civilians and at least 3 of them children. The idea was to help create the conditions for a lasting peace.

PAKISTAN received an early warning of what the era of smart power under President Barack Obama will look like after two remote-controlled US airstrikes killed 22 people at suspected terrorist hideouts in the border area of Waziristan.

There will be no let-up in the military pressure on terrorist groups, US officials warned, as Obama prepares to launch a surge of 30,000 troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. It is part of a tough love policy combining a military crack-down with diplomatic initiatives.

. . .

The airstrikes were authorised under a covert programme approved by Obama, according to a senior US official. It was a dramatic signal in the president’s first week of office that there will be no respite in the hunt for Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

Sarah Baxter, The Times (2009-01-25): Obama airstrikes kill 22 in Pakistan

Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven foreigners — a term that usually means al-Qaeda — but locals also said that three children lost their lives.

Dozens of similar strikes since August on northwest Pakistan, a hotbed of Taleban and al-Qaeda militancy, have sparked angry government criticism of the US, which is targeting the area with missiles launched from unmanned CIA aircraft controlled from operation rooms inside the US.

. . .

Eight people died when missiles hit a compound near Mir Ali, an al-Qaeda hub in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region. Seven more died when hours later two missiles hit a house in Wana, in South Waziristan. Local officials said the target in Wana was a guest house owned by a pro-Taleban tribesman. One said that as well as three children, the tribesman’s relatives were killed in the blast.

— Tim Reid, The Times (2009-01-23): President Obama orders Pakistan drone attacks

Every one of these deaths is blood on Barack Obama’s hands. Every one of these people who were killed, were killed on Barack Obama’s orders and in the name of his war policy. Because Obama wants to wash his hands of the United States government’s war on Iraq and its war on Afghanistan, every day that he delays getting out, completely — delays getting out in the name of exit strategies and central fronts and responsibility — which is to say, delays that happen because he is still convinced that, with the right sort of gradualist policy, he can somehow try to win wars that should never have been fought — is another person who is killed so that Barack Obama, after being elected as a peace candidate, can adopt and prolong the collossal, catastrophic mistakes of a disastrous failure of a predecessor, so that he won’t come off as being soft on national defense.

We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out….

. . .

Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of Vietnamizing the Vietnamese.

Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn’t have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can’t say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won’t be, and these are his words, the first President to lose a war.

We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

— John F. Kerry (23 April 1971), then speaking for Vietnam Veterans Against the War before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

And today, the questions are questions for Barack Obama, the latest in a long and despicable line of men who have served their political ambitions with anti-war promises, and then went on killing so that they could win the peace.

So, Mr. Obama, how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq?

How do you ask a woman to be the last woman to die in Afghanistan?

How do you ask a child to be the last child to die in Pakistan?

How do you ask someone to be the last one to die for a mistake?

See also:

19 replies to How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Nick Manley -- Classical Liberal Nightmare

    Charles,

    I sometimes feel that the “War on Terror” will truly last a century or bring the world to an end. I am a political cynic by subconscious habit, so I may not be the best person to listen to all the time. That said, I don’t see the U.S. “winning” in Afghanistan anytime soon. It’s hard to deny the fact that Islamist insurgents worldwide would get an ideological boost from defeating another superpower. That’s bad for the oppressed peoples of both Afghanstan and these United States.

    Thanks for creating a no win situation! U.S. politcians.

    Throws a shoe at the Pentagon

  2. Nick Manley -- Classical Liberal Nightmare

    Ccing my more lively comment from Roderick’s blog:

    Roderick,

    Don’t you remember? Obama told us we have to get through this together and pull our weight! These Pakistani children are just being compelled to do their duty…

    Really dark humor for dark times.

    Ok! I am leaving the comment soapbox to someone else now ( :

  3. Black Bloke

    The situation in Afghanistan is far from hopeless. But as the war enters its eighth year, Americans should be told the truth: it will last a long time — longer than the United States’ longest war to date, the 14-year conflict (1961-75) in Vietnam.—Richard Holbrooke

    Recently appointed as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan under the Obama administration.

  4. Discussed at dulceetdecorumest.org

    Dulce Et Decorum Est » Blog Archive » How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? (#2):

    […] How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq? How do you ask a man to be the last man to d… […]

  5. Francois Tremblay

    So why is this international terrorist not being arrested yet? Oh yea, I forgot, because he’s got all the guns and can just shoot anyone who tries.

    Who said democracy was order, so I can punch them in the face?

  6. Kate Jones

    Obama missed the historic moment. His inauguration speech was finely crafted, well delivered. And as of midnight Jan. 21 he should have unilaterally declared peace. No further military actions, no raids and killings anywhere that we have troops spread around the globe. An apology to the world for his predecessor’s wrongdoings and a promise to make good on the damage we’ve caused would have gone a long way to healing the enormous rifts of humanity. But now that he has blood oo his hands and finds it not evidently consequential, the first step down a slope slippery with blood has been taken. I weep for what could have been.

  7. lemur

    Bush’s wars are now Obama’s wars. The body count is now Obama’s. Obama said he will be judged by his acts, not his words. As the murders continue on his watch, his deeds are being judged. He is currently failing. There is little difference other than rhetoric between Bush and Obama’s foreign policy.

  8. charlie ehlen

    Just as in Vietnam, the last man, woman, child, will die on orders from Washington D.C. They will not be “asked” to do anything. Democracy? Where? Surely NOT in America today. NO, I am not a radical left wing nut case. I am a former US Marine and a Vietnam vet who did his 13 month tour there in 1970-71 with 5th Marine Regiment. War is a racket, as General Smedley Butler said. He also said there are ONLY two reasons for war. One, to defend OUR homes. Two, to defend the Bill of Rights. ALL other reasons (excuses) for war are a racket. We need to remember this and try our best to live that way. Bring the troops home from ALL foreign bases. The Department of Defense needs to defend America, not create an empire.

  9. Jaime

    These coward criminals are at it again. But the politicians who have sent them are even worse because these young soldiers can at least say that they’ve been fooled. Besides, being young is being stupid. What excuse can Bush and his cabal -and now Obama and his coterie- give? These powerful men will bring upon their own nations a similar fate. The US, for example, is already tasting the limits of their hubris. Those who want to see world peace based on justice and equality cannot wait for the day when the peoples of the world join to bring about a more humane world order.

  10. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-01-29 – Welcome, Antiwarriors:

    […] Kaercher hipped me to the fact that my post How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? is being featured today at the front page on Antiwar.com. I’m flattered; and presumably this […]

  11. Rad Geek

    Kate Jones,

    I agree with you; but while I’m outraged, sadly, I’m not surprised. Obama spent the last several months promising that his anti-war platform really meant the most foot-dragging, gradual sort of withdrawal from Iraq (so as to appear responsible to policy wonks and D.C. politicians — that is, the assholes who got us into this mess in the first place). And also that it meant dramatically escalating the war in Afghanistan (so that he would convince those same assholes that he wasn’t soft on national defense, and that his real concern was not *stopping* wars, but rather *fighting the right ones*). He is doing exactly what he promised — and that’s why the killing will continue for years to come.

    Charlie Ehlen,

    Well, speaking as a radical left wing nut case, I agree with you entirely. Except that I wouldn’t make the exceptions you make for government wars to defend our homes, or to defend the Bill of Rights. I agree that individual people have a right to defend their own homes, or to defend their liberty rights, from invasion — either individually, or cooperatively with their neighbors, comrades, or compatriots. But I don’t think that government wars, even so-called defensive wars, can ever achieve those goals — because government wars are always funded coercively by means taxation, and (therefore) not dependent on the consent of their supposed beneficiaries, and (therefore) deployed according to political interests rather than according to the real needs of the people they are supposedly defending, and (therefore) always carried on in order to defend political targets (like the survival of the State or the preservation of its territorial boundaries) rather than to defend real people’s lives, livelihoods, or liberties.

    I think that there is another way: I agree with you that every U.S. government soldier should be immediately and unilaterally brought home; I also believe that the Department of Defense (so-called; it has never actually fought a defensive war) should be abolished entirely; that all standing government armies should be disbanded; and that people ought to provide for their own self-defense, to whatever degree makes sense given their own situation, for their own homes and through voluntary citizen militias.

    Visitors from Antiwar.com,

    Welcome! If you’re new to the blog, you may be interested to take a look at GT 2009-01-29: Welcome, Antiwarriors, which offers a bit of an introduction to who I am, and what I write about here at the Rad Geek People’s Daily.

  12. Discussed at ktinmt.wordpress.com

    The More Things Change… Part IV « Kirsten in Montana:

    […] How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? Yesterday in Iraq, Barack Obama’s responsibly leaving army blockaded a village, invaded a family home at 2:00 in the morning, and gunned down a mother and father in the bed they shared with their 9 year old daughter. (The girl, besides being orphaned, was also wounded by the gunfire.) On Friday, in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s army forged peace by trooping into Laghman province, surrounding houses in a village, and then launching a raid where they killed 16 civilians — 2 women, 3 children, and 11 men — with gunfire and precision bombs dropped from planes. On Friday, in Pakistan, Barack Obama’s army forged peace by firing missiles repeatedly into houses in several villages in the Waziristan region. Barack Obama’s missiles killed twenty-two people, about 15 of them civilians and at least 3 of them children. The idea was to help create the conditions for a lasting peace. […]

  13. Discussed at crackerscentral.com

    Enjoy Every Sandwich » Blog Archive » The More Things Change… Part IV:

    […] How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? Yesterday in Iraq, Barack Obama’s responsibly leaving army blockaded a village, invaded a family home at 2:00 in the morning, and gunned down a mother and father in the bed they shared with their 9 year old daughter. (The girl, besides being orphaned, was also wounded by the gunfire.) On Friday, in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s army forged peace by trooping into Laghman province, surrounding houses in a village, and then launching a raid where they killed 16 civilians — 2 women, 3 children, and 11 men — with gunfire and precision bombs dropped from planes. On Friday, in Pakistan, Barack Obama’s army forged peace by firing missiles repeatedly into houses in several villages in the Waziristan region. Barack Obama’s missiles killed twenty-two people, about 15 of them civilians and at least 3 of them children. The idea was to help create the conditions for a lasting peace. Every one of these deaths is blood on Barack Obama’s hands. Every one of these people who were killed, were killed on Barack Obama’s orders and in the name of his war policy. Because Obama wants to wash his hands of the United States government’s war on Iraq and its war on Afghanistan, every day that he delays getting out, completely — delays getting out in the name of exit strategies and central fronts and responsibility — which is to say, delays that happen because he is still convinced that, with the right sort of gradualist policy, he can somehow try to win wars that should never have been fought — is another person who is killed so that Barack Obama, after being elected as a peace candidate, can adopt and prolong the collossal, catastrophic mistakes of a disastrous failure of a predecessor, so that he won’t come off as being soft on national defense. […]

· April 2009 ·

— 2014 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2014-01-28 – Welcome, Reasoners:

    […] GT 2009-01-25: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? and GT 2011-05-04: Military targets discuss the wars inflicted on the world under our current Progressive Peace President. […]

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