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‘U.S. military mindset produces monsters’

Press TV
September 24, 2011

‘US military mindset produces monsters’

Interview with Rick Rozoff, Manager for Stop NATO, Chicago
An analyst believes the actions of the US “kill team” charged with murdering Afghan civilians for sport is not isolated, but part of a systemic military mindset

Press TV talks with Rick Rozoff, manager of Stop NATO in Chicago, about the mindset of the US military leadership and U.S. government indiscretion that is cultivating a carte blanche impunity toward the value of the lives of the civilians of Afghanistan and Iraq. The attitude filters from the top down, resulting in atrocities against innocent people by ground forces. Following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Certainly this whole episode has been embarrassing for the U.S. Does that mean these “kill teams” still won’t pop up in Afghanistan, in Iraq?

Rick Rozoff: There’s all too much reason to believe that this is not an isolated incident, that in fact U.S. and other Western troops in Afghanistan have been given carte blanche to operate with comparative impunity. I fear that we may see more again along the lines of the monstrous and grotesque story you’ve just described.

Press TV: How much of the mentality, which allows soldiers to act out in such ways, is based on the leadership’s opinions of Iraqis and Afghanis?

Rick Rozoff: That’s a very astute question. Rather than singling out a 21-year-old infantryman for being solely responsible for this horrendous crime – and degradation and mutilation of the corpse of the teenager, the youth, he killed – the blame rests much higher up.

If the situation were reversed I can assure you that the U.S. would invoke so-called command responsibility and make sure the military commanders responsible for the troops in this sort of situation were held accountable.

We have to keep in mind, for example, that in the past two years, since 2009, U.S. special operations – so-called night raids, in particular – in Afghanistan have tripled, over the last two years.

There was also a report in June from a US-based non-governmental organization called Refugees International that stated, over the same period of time – over the last two years – 250,000 Afghan civilians have been displaced from their towns and villages because of similar special operations and attacks on the villages and the towns – these are helicopter gunships attacks; so-called night raids and so forth.

So, what we’re witnessing unfortunately is widespread and systematic abuse of Afghan civilians and the case in point we’re discussing now is one of the more atrocious, but I fear not a completely isolated development.

Press TV: Do cases like this provide hope that private contractors such as those from Blackwater, now known as Xe, will be held to account more often in cases where they do kill innocent people?

Rick Rozoff: One would hope so, but I live in Chicago in the U.S., the president of the US went to the White House from Chicago, and we might recall in his Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech in December of 2009, on the occasion of receiving a prize for peace, he openly boasted of the fact that the US is “the world’s military superpower.”

And I’m afraid that kind of arrogant attitude of being above the law, and obeying the law when one chooses, filters down through the ranks into occupation troops in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq and the inevitable implication I suspect is that we can get away with it because we are Americans.

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