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Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Unfair to the gunship guys! Those weren't medical personnel, it was just some father in a van driving his kids to be tutored.

Oops, did that phrase make it into the final posting? I'd changed it but apparently didn't save that version. I'll leave it as is so your comment will still make sense.

That was going to be part of a longer comment pointing out that killing people who are trying to help the first round of victims is nothing new:

Casualties among rescue workers were high. NATO had devised the devilish technique of bombing a site, then waiting fifteen minutes to a half hour—just time enough for rescue teams to arrive and get working—then hitting the target a second time, killing many of the would-be rescuers, and making it extremely dangerous for teams to dig for survivors. This method of delayed follow-up attack on a civilian target had never been tried before in modern warfare. It was one of NATO’s innovative war crimes.
(This is in reference to NATO killing paramedics in Yugoslavia in 1999, not shooting pregnant women and trying to cover it up in Afghanistan in 2010.)

Are those really innovations? I'm sure Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc. must have tried something like that. Wow. See, America really DOES think outside of the box. Even outside the evil box.

"Innovation" is probably going too far on Parenti's part, but while Hitler et al definitely attacked civilian centers, this tactic is particularly well-matched to the US's modus operandi of attacking civilian populations that are all but entirely undefended by actual armies (and more importantly, actual air forces). Swinging back around to kill paramedics is a luxury you don't have when you know you'll face a genuine threat from aircraft or anti-aircraft.

This is a tactic we share with our Israeli friends, by the way, which is no surprise given that they're attacking similarly defenseless targets.

According to Chomsky the slaughter of first responders has been resorted to in southern Lebanon on many occasions by some .. errr ... aggressive power.

In case you miss it, my comment on your post at ATR wasn't meant to be a criticism of what you wrote--I meant that Americans often seem to talk as though one either "supports the troops" or else goes to the other extreme and talks about them all as crazed babykillers who enjoy their work, but I wasn't putting you in the latter category.

I also think NE often makes sense, when he talks about something other than the Vast Conspiracy and Obama's inability to do anything about it.

I read your 2006 posting for the first time. I don't think it's good news that one day all these killers are gonna be "coming home"... Add these guys (and gals - no sexism here!) to the social unrest currently represented by T Partiers for example, and things could get interesting indeed. Or am I being alarmist?

Well, you and the alarmist Department of Homeland Security (PDF):

DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.
Which predictably raised the hackles of right-wing extremists, who vehemently maintain that neither they nor the disgruntled ex-soldiers they worship could ever carry out any kind of violence here (and if you disagree, they'll firebomb your house).

NATO innovative? Sadly, no. But the belligerent powers of WWII had a great desire to try out new things:

As with the bombing of other cities, the RAF and USAAF bombings of Hamburg employed a number of revolutionary strategies, including bombing the city center first in order to draw in the city's entire fire-fighting force, then dropping delayed action high-explosives in a concentric ring around the center, filling the streets with rubble and trapping the firefighters while they worked, ultimately incinerating them. This was followed by the dropping of further napalm and white-phosphorus incendiaries in a second concentric ring outside the first, facilitating unhampered burning in the remaining outer city. The circular bombing pattern, combined with a few days of unusually warm weather, was fundamental to creating the necessary vortex and whirling updraft of super-heated air needed to create the 1,500-foot-high tornado of fire. (Wikipedia)

"The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today."

Note the "small percentage" - presumably these were vets of Desert Storm. Even on a "small percentage" basis, this time around there's gonna be a much greater number to choose from. And our society has obviously advanced so far technologically and sociopathically that the potential for gleeful empathy-less mayhem scares the crap outa me.

Also, seems to me a similar unrest among military and paramilitary types (all veterans) occurred in Germany in the early 1920s...need I say more?

Donald Johnson: understood.

N E seems to make sense now and then, like a stopped clock is correct twice a day. But since he doesn't understand (or distorts) what he learns, it makes little difference.

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