School is out in Denver. The semi-annual excusion to the roof for swamp cooler maintenance has revealed a dead pump, yuck! A flag is flying from my porch and many others up and down my street.
The memory of fallen soldiers is not coming coated with saccarine, as it so often does. NPR this weekend featured the fallen soldier whose death set off the war crime by U.S. troops in Iraq covered in this space two months ago, an event that is only taking hold in the mainstream media now that U.S. forces are investigating it, even though it was public knowledge in the U.S. last March, and happened last November.
We remember the valiant dead. They sacrifice for our country without asking why. The animals that perpetrated Abu Grahib and the massacre of Haditha, are the exception, although they have stained the honor of the forces they are a part of. Most of the fault for atrocities lies higher up the hierarchy, where widespread abuse was authorized and encouraged. The task of asking why is left to the rest of us. The answers have been ringing hollow for a long time, certainly, at least since almost all of the justifications for war in Iraq have proven to be based upon lies. The most compelling reason for our continuing presence there is that we created this situation and have an obligation not to let all hell break loose as we depart.
UPDATE: The BBC reported late last night Colorado time, that the U.S. military has agreed that a war crime was committed in Haditha, is preparing to charge U.S. servicemen with crimes including murder, and is currently engaged in an intentional scheme to leak information to get the U.S. public ready for its conclusions. Courts Martial have very high conviction rates once commenced. The real question is the sentence. The U.S. military has a long track record in this conflict of convicting its soldiers of serious abuses, often causing death, and then imposing only slap on the wrist penalties for the crimes committed.