[16days_discussion] Truth, Lies and National Security?

KATHLEEN SLOAN kathleen.sloan at sbcglobal.net
Thu Apr 8 12:09:46 EDT 2010


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Kathy Sloan



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April 8, 2010
 
Dear Kathleen,
 
Earlier this week, we were riveted and horrified by two news stories involving the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan that set the blogosphere on fire.One revolved around a classified Pentagon video that was released on Monday by Wikileaks --it was shot in July 2007 above a suburb of Baghdad from inside an Apache helicopter as U.S. military personnel--whose banal and heartless commentary was heard on the tape--shot and killed over a dozen people, including a Reuters photographer and his driver. When a passerby in a minivan stopped to help one of the wounded Reuters employees, the guys in the helicopter requested permission to use a missile against his vehicle. The missile attack killed the driver, the journalist and wounded the driver's two children.
 
The second story was a report that on February 12th of this year, three Afghan women were killed in a botched raid by U.S. Special Operations forces on a family compound in Gardez where family members were celebrating the birth of a grandson. The U.S. soldiers initially reported that the women in the house had been the victims of an honor killing by their own family members. But an investigative journalist from The Times of London discovered that the soldiers had lied and tried to cover up what they had done by digging the bullets out of the women's bodies. Two of the women were pregnant mothers with sixteen children between them, and the third was an eighteen-year old girl.
 
While McChrystal, who made no statement when he was briefed on the Gardez incident in March, issued a new directive in July 2009 restricting activities likely to result in civilian casualties and urged troops to act with greater sensitivity to Afghan cultural and religious concerns, the killing of innocents continues. According to the UN, at least 98 Afghan civilians were killed in night raids in 2009. General McChrystal himself recently admitted,"We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."
 
It is only because of the bravery and determination of the Times journalist Jerome Starkey and the Wikileaks site and its anonymous tipster that these stories came to light. The Pentagon, fearing that the release of this kind of material would inflame world opinion against U.S. forces, labeled Wikileaks a "threat to national security." But we would like to know--what is the biggest threat to our national security: Wikileaks shining the light of truth on the killings committed in our names and with our tax dollars, or the horror and misery our ongoing occupations have wreaked and are wreaking on the lives of tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan?
 
As global citizens of conscience, we can't stand by and allow these killings to continue. Sign our Open Letter honoring the ugly truth and calling out General McChrystal, who is overseeing these lies, cover-ups and disregard for human life, as the greatest threat to our national security. We will deliver it to the Pentagon and the Arms Services committee next week!
In peace, 
Dana, Emily, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janna, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Prerna, Rae and Whitney 
    
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by Medea Benjamin  
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