05 September 2012

The Jayel Aheram story

Take any conflict and what it means to anyone depends where he or she is located, where he or she has been and where he or she desires to be.  I’ve just read testimonies of persons who have done military service in Afghanistan and Iraq, posted in a website called www.ourlivesourrights.org.  For Jayel Aheram, a US Marine who served in Iraq, it is all made of guilt:

‘As an Iraq War veteran, the combat deaths and home front suicides of our troops not only fill me with grief, but also indescribable guilt.  Grief, for these men and women are much too young to have needlessly died in a needless war.  Guilt, for I feel I have not done enough to dissuade young Americans from participating in this injustice.  I wish I could tell them what awaits them: that they will bear a disproportionate number of the deaths in these wars, and if they survive, suffer massive psychological trauma – trauma that comes from being morally complicit in the murders of innocents – that compels their comrades-in-arms to commit an increasing number of suicides.  And that once the military is done with them, they will face disproportionately high unemployment rates, homelessness, and higher risk for suicides.  I feel personally responsible for my fellow veterans’ suffering and deaths.  It is a shame and the ultimate tragedy is that most Americans do not feel the same.’

The focus is on the soldier.  Deborah Slagboom speaks of rape and abuse by a fellow Marine.  Others, both military personnel as well as civilians, talk about how wrong these wars are. 

An Afhan offers a Travel Advisory of sorts: ‘Hey US Govt, NATO and all military personnel: Going to one of the world’s most impoverished and war-torn countries to BOMB & OPPRESS does NOT make you a HERO (emphasis his)!’  He wants the above categories of people to get the what-not off Afghanistan and recommends the following: ‘Refuse, resist, revote and go AWOL (that’s ‘absent without leave’)’. 

An Afghan woman put it softly but is as insistent: ‘You cannot bomb us into liberation!’ adding that ‘NATO’ is not equal to ‘Progress’. 

On the first count, i.e. the issue of what really happens to those who fight and survive, is a story that the grandmasters of the US military industrial complex don’t want the world to know.  It’s bad, naturally, for troop morale and will make recruitment tough.  Americans of the US don’t usually handle truth very well, for they tend to believe what the mainstream media tell them.  However, once they do get hold of the truth, they cling to it tenaciously.  The truth is that ex-service personnel in the USA don’t enjoy a fraction of what their counterparts in Sri Lanka who fought and defeated the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit enjoy by way of post-conflict benefits.  The relevant truth, even if they’ve never heard of Sri Lanka, is that the glory of fighting for flag and anthem can’t be cashed once they lose their minds or are rendered homeless.

The second issue is of course part of the first and vice versa.  The invasion of Iraq was illegal and Bishop Tutu’s call for hauling George W Bush and Tony Blair to the Hague is a position widely supported by people all over the world.  Why Bishop Tutu has not called for the arrest of Barack Obama and David Cameron (and of course other war-mongering leaders in the EU) for crimes against humanity is of course hard to understand.  That ‘truth’ is the following: The USA and its allies are not bringing democracy to Afghanistan. They are killing people.  In the hundreds.  Almost every day.  And they are not doing this to make the world safer.  They are doing it because it is necessary for business, because it secures access to resources, especially oil and gas.  Moreover it is good for the arms industry.  And they are doing it not for the ordinary citizens of their respective countries but those who profit or stand to profit from this business. 

If ‘business’ requires that wars should continue and if it serves the interests political allies of these business enterprises, then rest assured there will be another war. Somewhere.   If for example Barack Obama snubs the UN and attacks Syria direct (Uncle Sam is currently using proxies), it could be because he is impatient to lay his hands on Syria’s resources. It could also be because he wants to give his re-election campaign a boost.  And that’s because most Americans of the US do not know what most of the world knows: the truth. 

The USA must fear Jayel Aheram and others like him.  They and not Barack Obama or Mitt Romney represent hope for their country and for relations between that country and the rest of the world. 
In wars there are casualties. Destruction and death.  Loss and grieving.  A lot is buried in conflicts.  The truth resists.  Jayel Aheram testifies to this.  It’s a good sign.  



sajic said...

The story is not new, is it? The fact is that most of the American electorate is illiterate-and follows Govt and mainstream media blindly, like sheep. The few who protest have always been ostracised until the truth hits the country in the face-as in Vietnam. Meanwhile the world suffers while the US continues to sing the 'star spangled banner'-the only national anthem that mentions bombs!