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Greenwald writes: "The latest ISIS atrocity - releasing a video of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot being burned alive - prompted substantial discussion yesterday about this particular form of savagery."

Jordanian pilot Lt. Moaz al-Kasaesbeh before his death. (photo: screenshot/ISIS clip)
Jordanian pilot Lt. Moaz al-Kasaesbeh before his death. (photo: screenshot/ISIS clip)


Burning Victims to Death: Still a Common Practice

By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

06 February 15

 

he latest ISIS atrocity – releasing a video of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot being burned alive – prompted substantial discussion yesterday about this particular form of savagery. It is thus worth noting that deliberately burning people to death is achievable – and deliberately achieved – in all sorts of other ways:

“Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan”, NYU School of Law and Stanford University Law School, 2012:

The most immediate consequence of drone strikes is, of course, death and injury to those targeted or near a strike. The missiles fired from drones kill or injure in several ways, including through incineration[3], shrapnel, and the release of powerful blast waves capable of crushing internal organs. Those who do survive drone strikes often suffer disfiguring burns and shrapnel wounds, limb amputations, as well as vision and hearing loss. . . .

In addition, because the Hellfire missiles fired from drones often incinerate the victims’ bodies, and leave them in pieces and unidentifiable, traditional burial processes are rendered impossible. As Firoz Ali Khan, a shopkeeper whose father-in-law’s home was struck, graphically described, “These missiles are very powerful. They destroy human beings . . .There is nobody left and small pieces left behind. Pieces. Whatever is left is just little pieces of bodies and cloth.” A doctor who has treated drone victims described how “[s]kin is burned so that you can’t tell cattle from human.” When another interviewee came upon the site of the strike that killed his father, “[t]he entire place looked as if it was burned completely, so much so that even [the victims’] own clothes had burnt. All the stones in the vicinity had become black.” Ahmed Jan, who lost his foot in the March 17 jirga strike, discussed the challenges rescuers face in identifying bodies: “People were trying to find the body parts. We find the body parts of some people, but sometimes we do not find anything.”

One father explained that key parts of his son’s burial process had to be skipped over as a result of the severe damage to his body. “[A]fter that attack, the villagers came and took the bodies to the hospital. We didn’t see the bodies. They were in coffins, boxes. The bodies were in pieces and burnt.” Idris Farid, who was injured and lost several of his relatives in the March 17 jirga strike, described how, after that strike, relatives “had to collect their body pieces and bones and then bury them like that.” The difficulty of identifying individual corpses also makes it difficult to separate individuals into different graves. Masood Afwan, who lost several relatives in the March 17 jirga strike, described how the dead from that strike were buried: “They held a funeral for everybody, in the same location, one by one. Their bodies were scattered into tiny pieces. They…couldn’t be identified” . . . .
[3] See, e.g., Yancy Y Phillips & Joan T. Zajchuk, The Management of Primary Blast Injury, in Conventional Warfare: Ballistic, Blast and Burn Injuries 297 (1991) (“The thermal pulse from a detonation may burn exposed skin, or secondary fires may be started by the detonation and more serious burns may be suffered.”); AGM-114N Metal Augmented Charge (MAC) Thermobaric Hellfire, GlobalSecurity.org, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/agm-114n.htm (last visited Aug. 17, 2012) (“The new [AGM-114N Thermobaric Hellfire] warhead contains a fluorinated aluminum powder layered between the warhead casing and the PBXN-112 explosive fill. When the PBXN-112 detonates, the aluminum mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns. The resultant sustained high pressure is extremely effective against enemy personnel and structures.”); Explosions and Blast Injuries: A Primer for Clinicians, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.bt.cdc.gov/masscasualties/explosions.asp (last visited on Sept. 17, 2012) (outlining one of the types of blast injuries as “burns (flash, partial, and full thickness”)).

Mirza Shahzad Akbar, The New York Times, May 22, 2013:

Instead, a few days after [Obama’s] inaugural address, a CIA-operated drone dropped Hellfire missiles on Fahim Qureishi’s home in North Waziristan, killing seven of his family members and severely injuring Fahim. He was just 13 years old and left with only one eye, and shrapnel in his stomach. . . .

Mr. Obama is scheduled to deliver a major speech on drones at the National Defense University today. He is likely to tell his fellow Americans that drones are precise and effective at killing militants.

But his words will be little consolation for 8-year-old Nabila, who, on Oct. 24, had just returned from school and was playing in a field outside her house with her siblings and cousins while her grandmother picked flowers. At 2:30 p.m., a Hellfire missile came out of the sky and struck right in front of Nabila. Her grandmother was badly burned and succumbed to her injuries; Nabila survived with severe burns and shrapnel wounds in her shoulder.

Al Jazeera, “Yemenis seek justice in wedding drone strike,” May 21, 2014:

Mousid survived the December 12 attack in Yemen’s central al-Baydah province, apparently launched by an American drone, but his physical and psychological recovery process is just beginning. If confirmed, it would be the deadliest drone attack in the country in more than a year. . . .

After talking with victims and family members in the area, it was clear a majority of civilians were among the carnage of the targeted wedding convoy. . . .

Civilians living under drones said they live in constant fear of being hit again. “Many people in our village have expressed terror at the thought of another strike,” Sulaimani said. “When the kids hear a plane they no longer climb the trees searching for where that noise came from. They each immediately run to their houses.”

CNN, December 23, 2011:

She has eyelashes but no eyebrows. She has all her fingers but is missing four nails. Her skin is so taut now that she can no longer frown.

But she can still smile.

Her face tells a story of suffering. Her name, Shakira, tells a story of a new journey. . .

Last week, 4-year-old Shakira arrived in the United States for what her caretaker, Hashmat Effendi, hopes will be the start of the rest of her life.

Shakira, discovered with severe burns in Pakistan, will undergo reconstructive surgery in January. . . . All anyone could say is that there had been a U.S. drone attack, though U.S. officials say that drones have never struck targets in Swat.

The Independent, “The fog of war: white phosphorus, Fallujah and some burning questions,” November 15, 2005:

Ever since last November, when US forces battled to clear Fallujah of insurgents, there have been repeated claims that troops used “unusual” weapons in the assault that all but flattened the Iraqi city. Specifically, controversy has focussed on white phosphorus shells (WP) – an incendiary weapon usually used to obscure troop movements but which can equally be deployed as an offensive weapon against an enemy. The use of such incendiary weapons against civilian targets is banned by international treaty. . . .

The debate was reignited last week when an Italian documentary claimed Iraqi civilians – including women and children – had been killed by terrible burns caused by WP. The documentary, Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, by the state broadcaster RAI, cited one Fallujah human-rights campaigner who reported how residents told how “a rain of fire fell on the city”. . . . The claims contained in the RAI documentary have met with a strident official response from the US . . . .

While military experts have supported some of these criticisms, an examination by The Independent of the available evidence suggests the following: that WP shells were fired at insurgents, that reports from the battleground suggest troops firing these WP shells did not always know who they were hitting and that there remain widespread reports of civilians suffering extensive burn injuries. While US commanders insist they always strive to avoid civilian casualties, the story of the battle of Fallujah highlights the intrinsic difficulty of such an endeavour.

It is also clear that elements within the US government have been putting out incorrect information about the battle of Fallujah, making it harder to assesses the truth. Some within the US government have previously issued disingenuous statements about the use in Iraq of another controversial incendiary weapon – napalm. . . .

Another report, published in the Washington Post, gave an idea of the sorts of injuries that WP causes. It said insurgents “reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns”. A physician at a local hospital said the corpses of insurgents “were burned, and some corpses were melted”. . . .

Yet there are other, independent reports of civilians from Fallujah suffering burn injuries. For instance, Dahr Jamail, an unembedded reporter who collected the testimony of refugees from the city spoke to a doctor who had remained in the city to help people, encountered numerous reports of civilians suffering unusual burns.

One resident told him the US used “weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud” and that he watched “pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns.” The doctor said he “treated people who had their skin melted.”

Jeff Englehart, a former marine who spent two days in Fallujah during the battle, said he heard the order go out over military communication that WP was to be dropped. In the RAI film, Mr Englehart, now an outspoken critic of the war, says: “I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it’s known as Willy Pete … Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone … I saw the burned bodies of women and children” . . . .

Napalm was used in several instances during the initial invasion. Colonel Randolph Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11, remarked during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003: “The generals love napalm – it has a big psychological effect.”

Lindsay Murdoch, The Age (Australia), March 19, 2013:

I was not aware the Pentagon had called me a liar. . . .

An editor in Sydney took the call from the Pentagon’s Lieutenant-Commander Jeff Davies a day after the beginning of the ground war in Iraq 10 years ago today. My report for Fairfax Media of the opening of hostilities, which referred to the use of Vietnam-era napalm, was ”patently false”, he said. . . .

It was not until US Marine Corps fighter pilots and commanders started returning from the war zone later in 2003 that the Pentagon’s deceit was exposed in interviews conducted by the San Diego Union Tribune.

The pilots described how they had dropped massive fireballs they called napalm on Iraqi forces as marines battled towards Baghdad.

On August 4, 2003, a Pentagon spokesman admitted that ”Mark 77” incendiary devices were used by the US forces, which he acknowledged were ”remarkably similar” to napalm weapons.

The Mark 77s used a fuel-gel mixture that was similar to napalm, he conceded.

Asked about Safwan Hill, US Marine colonel Mike Daily said: ”I can confirm that Mark 77 firebombs were used in that general area.”

Incendiary bombs were also dropped in April 2003 near bridges over the Saddam Canal and Tigris River, returning officers revealed.

”We napalmed both those [bridge] approaches,” said Colonel Randolph Alles who commanded Marine Air Group 11 during the war.

”There were Iraqi soldiers there. It’s not a great way to die.”

Colonel Alles added that napalm had a ”big psychological effect” on an enemy. ”The generals love napalm,” he said.

Haaretz, October 22, 2006 (“Israel admits using phosphorus bombs during war in Lebanon”):

Israel has acknowledged for the first time that it attacked Hezbollah targets during the second Lebanon war with phosphorus shells. White phosphorus causes very painful and often lethal chemical burns to those hit by it, and until recently Israel maintained that it only uses such bombs to mark targets or territory. . . .

During the war several foreign media outlets reported that Lebanese civilians carried injuries characteristic of attacks with phosphorus, a substance that burns when it comes to contact with air. In one CNN report, a casualty with serious burns was seen lying in a South Lebanon hospital.

In another case, Dr. Hussein Hamud al-Shel, who works at Dar al-Amal hospital in Ba’albek, said that he had received three corpses “entirely shriveled with black-green skin,” a phenomenon characteristic of phosphorus injuries.

Lebanon’s President Emile Lahoud also claimed that the IDF made use of phosphorus munitions against civilians in Lebanon.

Human Rights Watch, March 25, 2009 (“Israel: White Phosphorus Use Evidence of War Crimes”):

Israel’s repeated firing of white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 71-page report, “Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza,” provides witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza. . . .

“In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops,” said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren’t in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died” . . . .

Israel at first denied it was using white phosphorus in Gaza but, facing mounting evidence to the contrary, said that it was using all weapons in compliance with international law. Later it announced an internal investigation into possible improper white phosphorus use. . . .

The IDF knew that white phosphorus poses life-threatening dangers to civilians, Human Rights Watch said. A medical report prepared during the recent hostilities by the Israeli ministry of health said that white phosphorus “can cause serious injury and death when it comes into contact with the skin, is inhaled or is swallowed.” Burns on less than 10 percent of the body can be fatal because of damage to the liver, kidneys, and heart, the ministry report says. Infection is common and the body’s absorption of the chemical can cause serious damage to internal organs, as well as death. . . .

All of the white phosphorus shells that Human Rights Watch found were manufactured in the United States in 1989 by Thiokol Aerospace, which was running the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant at the time. . . . The United States government, which supplied Israel with its white phosphorus munitions, should also conduct an investigation to determine whether Israel used it in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said.

Boston Globe, February 14, 2013 (“Girl in famous Vietnam photo talks about forgiveness”):

The girl in the photo — naked, crying, burned, running, with other children, away from the smoke — became emblematic of human suffering during the Vietnam War. Kim Phuc was 9 then, a child who would spend the next 14 months in the hospital and the rest of her life in skin blistered from the napalm that hit her body and burned off her clothes. She ran until she no longer could, and then she fainted. . . .

Phuc went outside and saw the plane getting closer, and then heard the sound of four bombs hitting the ground. She couldn’t run. She didn’t know until later, but the bombs carried napalm, a gel-like incendiary that clings to its victims as it burns.

“Suddenly I saw the fire everywhere around me,” she remembers. “At that moment, I didn’t see anyone, just the fire. Suddenly, I saw my left arm burning. I used my right hand to try to take it off.”

Her left hand was damaged, too. Her clothes burned off. Later, she would be thankful that her feet weren’t damaged because she could run away, run until she was outside the fire. She saw her brothers, her cousins, and some soldiers running, too. She ran until she couldn’t run any more. . . . Two of her cousins, ages 9 months and 3 years, died in the bombing. Phuc had burns over two-thirds of her body and was not expected to live.

Unlike ISIS, the U.S. usually (though not always) tries to suppress (rather than gleefully publish) evidence showing the victims of its violence. Indeed, concealing stories about the victims of American militarism is a critical part of the U.S. government’s strategy for maintaining support for its sustained aggression. That is why, in general, the U.S. media has a policy of systematically excluding and ignoring such victims (although disappearing them this way does not actually render them nonexistent).

One could plausibly maintain that there is a different moral calculus involved in (a) burning a helpless captive to death as opposed to (b) recklessly or even deliberately burning civilians to death in areas that one is bombing with weapons purposely designed to incinerate human beings, often with the maximum possible pain. That’s the moral principle that makes torture specially heinous: sadistically inflicting pain and suffering on a helpless detainee is a unique form of barbarity.

But there is nonetheless something quite obfuscating about this beloved ritual of denouncing the unique barbarism of ISIS. It is true that ISIS seems to have embraced a goal – a strategy – of being incomparably savage, inhumane and morally repugnant. That the group is indescribably nihilistic and morally grotesque is beyond debate.

That’s exactly what makes the intensity of these repeated denunciation rituals somewhat confounding. Everyone decent, by definition, fully understands that ISIS is repellent and savage. While it’s understandable that being forced to watch the savagery on video prompts strong emotions (although, again, hiding savagery does not in fact make it less savage), it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the ritualistic expressed revulsion has a definitive utility.

The constant orgy of condemnation aimed at this group seems to have little purpose other than tribal self-affirmation: no matter how many awful acts our government engages in, at least we don’t do something like that, at least we’re not as bad as them. In some instances, that may be true, but even when it is, the differences are usually much more a matter of degree than category (much the way that angry denunciations over the Taliban for suicide-bombing a funeral of one of its victims hides the fact that the U.S. engages in its own “double tap” practice of bombing rescuers and funeral mourners for its drone victims). To the extent that these denunciation rituals make us forget or further obscure our own governments’ brutality – and that seems to be the overriding effect if not the purpose of these rituals – they are worse than worthless; they are actively harmful.

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+28 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2015-02-06 10:39
America. "The greatest country in the world. One nation under God." But, was God actually consulted in this declaration?
 
 
+6 # Merlin 2015-02-06 21:37
Eldon J. Bloedorn
"But, was God actually consulted in this declaration?"

Of course he was! Don't you remember what "W" said regarding his decision to invade Iraq? "Religious" people always consult with God about everything, be they ISIS or the crazy evangelical preachers here in the good ole US of A. They pray every night to win the lottery and smite their enemy.

God provides the greatest justification of all, for doing anything you want. Just ask and you shall receive. (Permission, that is.)
 
 
+69 # intheEPZ 2015-02-06 10:50
Thank you Glenn Greenwald for your courageous research and truth telling. This was hard, but necessary to read.
 
 
+37 # ritawalpoleague 2015-02-06 10:53
THE HORRORS OF WAR - no wonder so many of our vets, those who make it back from the endless wars for $$$$$ and oil, oil, oil, are so likely to be P.T.S.D.'d and, sad but true, commit suicide in deadly percentages.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL...WALL STREET VILLAINAIRES (and their MIC cronies). Way past time that the U.S. ends endless wars, including deadly/dreadful...

DEATH BY DRONES ! (Wake up, Oh Bomb Ah).
 
 
+7 # Nominae 2015-02-07 15:08
Quoting ritawalpoleague:
THE HORRORS OF WAR .....


Precisely so. There was a time when only the combatants actually saw the horrors of war.

People now are too easily manipulated by a video image.

These ISIS pinheads get more free "PR Bang for the Buck" with a handful of vicious murders choreographed for maximum shock value than the Wehrmacht could squeeze out of the rampages of entire Panzer Divisions during WWII.

Even the TV footage brought into American living rooms during the Viet Nam war did not depict the actual truth and horror of war.

When people thousands of miles away can *provoke* these "Chicken Little" responses in the American Populace with no more effort than that, it only encourages them to *up* the "production values" on their next low rent atrocity.

ISIS is here prevailing in the U.S. with simple bargain-basemen t Psy-Ops.

And the same U.S. that would not allow photos of caskets returning to Dover Air Force Base from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is *allowing* ISIS "productions" full coverage in the U.S.

The population is being "prepped for" this future of unending wars, even as they are fully "burnt out on" foreign wars with no purpose other than arms sales and resource acquisition.

Both Kerry and Hagel have said that "dealing with" ISIS is a job that will take 20 to 30 years. Really ? When the Civil War, WWI, and WWII *combined* took about 12 years total ?

ISIS, like Al Qaeda, is a U.S. concoction.
 
 
+10 # Nominae 2015-02-07 15:28
ISIS, composed of, and based upon U.S. created Al Qaeda, and economically elite members of Sadaam's old Baathist party, could be stopped by Easter 2015 via simply cutting off their funding and allowing them to wander around in circles out in the desert until their toyotas run out of gas.

That, and ignoring their videos. When we allow this adolescent mob to control the popular conversation and the emotional balance in this Nation of 310 Million people, we give them much more power than they deserve, and sell our time and attention disgustingly cheaply.

However, as long as ISIS provides "proxy" service for so many Dark Money players in their region, they will remain in place functioning as the Wizard of Oz's "PR shock troops" until they are no longer useful in that capacity.

They are a boogyman. Not the well-trained and well-equipped Standing Army of a Sovereign Nation - they have no Navy, no Air Force, no ICBM Systems, just a bunch of clowns without helmets, often shod only in sandals, riding around the desert in the back of pickup trucks robbing and murdering people who refuse as Nations to fight back and defend themselves.

This is a *ridiculously* weak-kneed replacement bugaboo for the old Soviet Union, which was likewise never the overwhelming threat that it was sold to the U.S. taxpayers as being.

And yet the USSR *was* a serious enemy.

The only way ISIS takes 20 to 30 years to "deal with" is if the West enthusiasticall y *wants* it that way.
 
 
+41 # randi1randi1@yahoo.com 2015-02-06 11:41
This should be required reading in all U.S. High Schools. I bet you won't hear about this on the network news...
 
 
+31 # reiverpacific 2015-02-06 11:47
IS self-styled caliphate, including many recruited from European Islamic converts, has repeatedly stated before these definitely barbaric executions even forced through the mouths of their victims pre-beheading and now cage-burned, that this was direct result of American and Western unwanted interference and heavy presence in the Middle East for purely extractive purposes and eventual domination.
As the article states, anybody who is human despises and is repelled by these videos and photos but when the likes of Fox news batters it's already hate-filled, fear of "the other", largely ignorant of the world watchers through a "USA! USA!" blinked prism -they actually SHOWED the recent incineration of the Jordanian Pilot, fanning the flames of hate and fear which they and Rush Limpballs make their stock-in-trade.
Forgetting of course the Faux-Democracy US multiple invasions, usurpations, murders, death-squad arming and training (School of the Americas), torture and maiming of nations worldwide who committed the sin of trying to establish their own sovereign shots at democracy, even unto this day (Honduras) and of course the listed "Surgical" and weekly targeted strikes, easily dismissed by the military as "Collateral Damage" or Madeline Allbright's "worth the price" slow starvation of 500,000 Iraqi children, botched executions, political prisoners and mass surveillance at home.
What a list to be living with as fingers are pointed at other countries' "Human Rights Records".
 
 
+7 # Merlin 2015-02-06 21:41
Reiver
You speak for me here! Thanks
 
 
-34 # angelfish 2015-02-06 11:52
It seems to me that all the sane Countries in the Free World should Unite against these mindless, Boobs who use torture, beheadings and burnings to horrify the civilized World. The entire Planet is held hostage by these lunatics who actually BELIEVE there are seventy seven Virgins awaiting them in Paradise. I think we should work avidly to see that they get their fantasy SOONER rather than later. All out War is NOT the answer, in my opinion, surely between ALL of us in the free World there are ways in which we can Neutralize them? If something isn't done to curb their butchery it will continue to escalate and embolden them to commit worse (?) atrocities. I shudder to think what they might be!
 
 
+24 # Johnny 2015-02-06 12:35
When you speak of "torture, beheadings and burnings" I assume you are talking about the practices of the U.S. government and its allies, including the United Kingdom, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Nobody will deny that Obomber, Netanyahu, and the rest of the butchers should be "neutralized" and that they "continue to escalate and embolden them to commit worse (?) atrocities." But since they totally control the media, the U.S. government and the military, how do we "neutralize" them?
 
 
+7 # Merlin 2015-02-06 21:43
Johnny,
Nice switch.
 
 
+15 # Pikewich 2015-02-06 15:42
Actually, I think it more accurate to say the entire world is held hostage by the real terrorists. As Martin King said in this context: "My Own Government".
 
 
+7 # nogardflow 2015-02-06 20:47
angelfish, could you please supply me with a list of the countries that comprise the 'Civilized World'.
 
 
+1 # Merlin 2015-02-06 21:45
nogardflow

oooh. good one!
 
 
-4 # angelfish 2015-02-07 15:35
Quoting nogardflow:
angelfish, could you please supply me with a list of the countries that comprise the 'Civilized World'.

So, then, nogardflow. You don't know of any civilized countries in the free World? If we're ALL savages, WHY bother about ANYTHING? I am stunned and amazed to have received so many "Thumbs down" and negative comments. I HAD hoped that the race of men had, somehow, gotten beyond the Dog eat Dog, Tit for Tat, He did it to ME so I"M gonna do it to HIM harder, faster, more hurtful, petty Bull-Puckey. Sad to see, we have not. If you have a Cancer, you REMOVE it. What these Monsters in the Middle East are, is CANCER! Notice how it spreads? It's overtaking Europe and even here it's taking hold, I'm just grateful to God I have no children that will be caged, burned, beheaded or raped by any of them. I hope you don't either.
 
 
-2 # angelfish 2015-02-09 13:27
Quoting angelfish:
Quoting nogardflow:
angelfish, could you please supply me with a list of the countries that comprise the 'Civilized World'.

So, then, nogardflow. You don't know of any civilized countries in the free World? If we're ALL savages, WHY bother about ANYTHING? I am stunned and amazed to have received so many "Thumbs down" and negative comments. I HAD hoped that the race of men had, somehow, gotten beyond the Dog eat Dog, Tit for Tat, He did it to ME so I"M gonna do it to HIM harder, faster, more hurtful, petty Bull-Puckey. Sad to see, we have not. If you have a Cancer, you REMOVE it. What these Monsters in the Middle East are, is CANCER! Notice how it spreads? It's overtaking Europe and even here it's taking hold, I'm just grateful to God I have no children that will be caged, burned, beheaded or raped by any of them. I hope you don't either.

WOW! At least Three of you think that your children SHOULD be caged, burned, beheaded and raped by this Cancer that has over-taken the Middle East? Mind boggling!
 
 
+7 # James Marcus 2015-02-06 11:58
Obama, U S Bombing Pilots, and Drone Operators (Entire Congress, too?), Mass Murderers. ALL, Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity.
May a Merciful God not waste Precious Mercy on any of them
 
 
+28 # fredboy 2015-02-06 11:59
Sad we snubbed international law and began torturing. Set a precedent for others to follow, and erased all U.S. credibility in an argument against it.

Dumb shits.
 
 
+33 # wwway 2015-02-06 11:59
In college I had a study pal from Spain who knew more about American History and European history than anyone I knew. When I travel to Europe I meet ordinary folks who know a lot more than my friends back home.
Does anyone know the inspiration behind Dracula? Vlad Dracul was quite brutal and the practice not unusual. Ask any high schooler and they don't have a clue who Vlad Dracul is.
Education in American schools is really bad when it comes to social studies and the text books often give misleading information. For example, in high school students should be reading Wealth of Nations, Communist Manifesto to study the real economic philosophies that inspire modern economics. Our students are bright but their lights are put out with cell phones and entertainment.
 
 
+22 # reiverpacific 2015-02-06 12:29
Quoting wwway:
In college I had a study pal from Spain who knew more about American History and European history than anyone I knew. When I travel to Europe I meet ordinary folks who know a lot more than my friends back home.
Does anyone know the inspiration behind Dracula? Vlad Dracul was quite brutal and the practice not unusual. Ask any high schooler and they don't have a clue who Vlad Dracul is.
Education in American schools is really bad when it comes to social studies and the text books often give misleading information. For example, in high school students should be reading Wealth of Nations, Communist Manifesto to study the real economic philosophies that inspire modern economics. Our students are bright but their lights are put out with cell phones and entertainment.

I've met Indians in the Andes who know more about the world than the average American ADULT, infotained to sleep walkers by "Panem et Circences".
Hell, my late ex-wife's nephew graduated from high school functionally illiterate!
And that's just how the Oligarchs want it! Makes people easier to enslave and be sickeningly grateful for the fewer and fewer crumbs falling from their overloaded tables, unlikely to push back, all creativity banished from their daily mien and blind to universal truth like the old Japanese Three Wise Monkeys, -"See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"?
Conversely, every young person I've met who served in the Peace Corps has been a credit to the country.
 
 
-24 # Johnny 2015-02-06 12:36
Greenwald is full of shit to suggest that the policies of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the butchers are somehow less "indescribably nihilistic and morally grotesque" than those of ISIS. Just do the math.
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2015-02-06 13:36
Quoting Johnny:
Greenwald is full of shit to suggest that the policies of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the butchers are somehow less "indescribably nihilistic and morally grotesque" than those of ISIS. Just do the math.


YOU'Ve obviously never done the Math or have done it selectively.
See the list, by no means complete, in my first post.
Plus y'r beloved "ally"??? Saudi Arabia under it's new leader, is getting ready to spread public execution, hand amputations and flogging from Riyadh's Chop-Chop square to points all over the country.
And have you actually any "done the Math (if it's available)" on the amount of Palestinians done in by that Fascist warmonger Nutty-Yahoo's LIKUD and MOSSAD including outside of the disputed borders, of Iranian scientists.
You need to get y'rself a basic Abacus and a dose of reality.
Full of shit indeed; take a wee peep in y'r "mirror cracked from side to side".
 
 
-1 # ptalady 2015-02-09 03:18
Huh. I note that Johnny's post is written as a double negative, so maybe it is hard to understand. It seems to me he says: Greenwald is wrong to say US and allies' policies are less bad than those of ISIS. In other words it is correct to say US and allied policies are more bad than those of ISIS. Moreover, given that the reach of the US and its allies is so profoundly and obviously greater than that of ISIS, his "do the math" comment must also mean that the US and allies' policies are more indescribably nihilistic than those of ISIS. This is your point too, Reiver, so... hold yer horses before you serve up yer slamwich.
 
 
0 # John S. Browne 2015-02-09 14:36
#

The problem with Johnny's comment, "PTALady", is that Greenwald didn't say what Johnny claims Glenn said. Greenwald is an exceedingly intelligent person who of course knows that the extent of the West's barbarism, brutality and viciousness is FAR worse than ISIS's. A lot of "Amerikans" like Johnny read things in that aren't there, and/or jump to false conclusions that writers are saying, or mean, something that they didn't and/or don't. I see it in these comment sections and/or threads quite often. It's because of the highly successful indoctrination and conditioning cognitive dissonance and the dumbing-down, as well as the intelligence-lo wering so successfully brought about through all of the dumbing-down chemicals in the air, food and water.

#
 
 
+21 # swaneagle 2015-02-06 12:38
With over 100,000 dead, over 27,000 reported missing and evidence of incineration of hundreds of people in Mexico by the drug cartels, one has to wonder at the lack of interest or outrage at the US backed support of corrupt Nieto, police, military and cartels in the complete horrification of beautiful Mexico and her people.Thanks to NAFTA, free trade and corporate/milit ary take over of Latin America, US warmongering, greed driven policies do nothing to improve life for any but billionaires & their paid off sidekicks.
 
 
+21 # Archie1954 2015-02-06 13:29
"The people live in constant fear"? What is that then except the result of terrorist activities? the US is the biggest terrorist nation on the face of the Earth. Its drones burn civilians alive and cause abject terror everywhere in the Middle East. What a grossly hypocritical and ugly nation of perverts!
 
 
-20 # tgemberl 2015-02-06 14:10
People are sometimes incinerated by drone strikes. But as far as I know, we never display photographs of the victims being incinerated on TV. That is a difference worth noting.
 
 
+15 # reiverpacific 2015-02-06 16:42
Quoting tgemberl:
People are sometimes incinerated by drone strikes. But as far as I know, we never display photographs of the victims being incinerated on TV. That is a difference worth noting.


Really; Fox showed the whole caged burning film.
And "Sometimes"??? how about "Invariably"?!
There are plenty of visual records of the drone-strikes, as their "pilots" sit at remote controls in safety and some are occasionally shown when a "Significant" target is hit (you can see some on YouTube) but the truth is, if the strikes and their "Collateral" results were shown here, a LOT of people might just get pissed-off enough to revolt against their own faux-democracy and blundering military.
 
 
+24 # Radscal 2015-02-06 18:04
One group has killed thousands of people, and posts images of their victims, openly bragging about it and declaring why they do it.

The other group has killed millions of people and hides images of their victims, denies what they've done and gives phony excuses for the carnage it carries out.

You're correct. "That is a difference worth noting," and I'm glad Glenn is making that clear.
 
 
-9 # tgemberl 2015-02-06 19:27
Radscal,
Let me just ask you a simple question: don't you think that gloating about one's crimes and openly posting them on broadcast media is an atrocity in itself?
 
 
+16 # Radscal 2015-02-06 19:41
Sure. So is hiding them.
 
 
-6 # tgemberl 2015-02-07 13:16
Radscal,
Here's another question. We undoubtedly incinerated a lot of people when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. But that may actually have saved some lives. Do you think it was wrong to do so?

I'm not sure you can justify drones the same way. To my way of thinking, it all depends on whether the war itself is just. But in a just war, there will be some "collateral damage." There is probably no way to eliminate that completely. Even in the age of hand-to-hand combat, there was some collateral damage.
 
 
+9 # Merlin 2015-02-06 21:21
Radscal

I appreciate your comments. They are well conceived and consistently on the mark.
 
 
+6 # Radscal 2015-02-07 03:30
Thanks, Merlin. I've been enjoying your posts also.
 
 
+22 # progressiveguy 2015-02-06 14:23
Remember, during the Vietnam war, the picture of the young Vietnamese girl running down the road on fire from napalm? There is no way to put a napalm fire out, it has to burn itself out. The US has for a long time used napalm without concern that it in fact tortures its victims to death. Those that use napalm are unworthy of the respect of decent people. The generals that order its use are even more unworthy of respect.
 
 
+1 # Jim Rocket 2015-02-07 10:15
Interesting side note: That "girl" is alive and well in Toronto. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phan_Thi_Kim_Phuc
 
 
+25 # Pikewich 2015-02-06 15:39
I wonder. There are so many of these war mongers who call themselves "Christians".

Would Jesus be OK with using napalm, WP, or any other means of killing?

I doubt it.
 
 
+18 # Radscal 2015-02-06 18:23
“The new [AGM-114N Thermobaric Hellfire] warhead contains a fluorinated aluminum powder layered between the warhead casing and the PBXN-112 explosive fill. When the PBXN-112 detonates, the aluminum mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns."

I'm ashamed to admit that I did not realize that Hellfire Missiles are actually designed to create, well hell fire. I knew they often caused fires, but did not realize that was part of their designed purpose.

And like napalm and white phosphorus, fluorinated aluminum fire cannot be extinguished with standard fire extinguishing methods.
 
 
+9 # Merlin 2015-02-06 21:50
Radscal
Thanks. I did not know this either.
 
 
0 # Romesh Bhattacharji 2015-02-07 01:01
Glenwald is right. Yet, by mentioning all these savage incidents is he trying to mitigate ISIL's barbarity? Not a word of sympathy and grief from him for this latest victim. Jordan did not drone innocents. It was the US. He could have made this distinction rather than let his chronic (and often understandable) hate for the USG gof his reasoning and humanity.
 
 
+3 # Jim Rocket 2015-02-07 10:19
Criticism does not equal hate.
 
 
0 # wdcarrier 2015-02-07 11:02
This discussion ignores the fact that the human race, since it came down from the trees (or likely even before) is governed by the primal objective of self-preservati on. This underlying resolve, even coupled with our unique ability to recognize it, has led to its application for primarily self-serving purposes
Altruism is an aberrant flicker in a cosmos of self-serving actions. Its rare occurrence is always lauded but history shows it has had little effect on the human actions that have actually changed the course of the world. Civilizations have risen and fallen through the application of force…not through altruism. Why do we expect to see it in ISIS followers when we can’t find it ourselves? As late as the 1930’s racially inspired burnings were till occurring in this country.
The only truth here is that history shows us that, without exception, great human societies crumble. If history truly does repeat itself than in the millennium following this one neither ISIS nor the United States of America will be more than a post-script in history (and considering the projected effects of global warming, humanity may well have passed from the picture anyway.)
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2015-02-08 17:36
You wrote:
"The only truth here is that history shows us that, without exception, great human societies crumble."

I suppose that's true. The continuation of the US as the great world power is not important. So what is important? If altruism isn't, I don't know what is.

Don't confuse history with ethics. The fact that force usually prevails doesn't mean we should be satisfied with the rule of force. We should strive for a juster world.
 
 
+2 # scumbag 2015-02-07 11:19
Dear Folks.It doesn't matter how we try to dress it up but the sad truth is we're all inmates of our global nuthouse.Where the meanest psychos are the handpicked wardens.Like lovely Nurse Ratchet.The most malicious evil of all that comes with a handsome face and a friendly smile.The shit is boiling over and we all waste our time as good as we can.While rotten systems come apart at the seams.Like already mentioned,the daily diet is Monsanto Bread and Smart-Ass-Phone Games.Education ???Send a fool to college and you'll get an educated fool.According to an opinion poll,the Top Employers for graduates are Dream Factory Disney,Goggle and the Glassholes and the Hoover mindset FBI.That tells a lot about your promising Degeneration Future.And please don't nail me on a statistic I havn't doctored my self.Wall Street must be in the top ranks aswell.Where your brightest brains busy shove around Monopoly Money.More and more I feel attracted by the old black book saying:Rich are the mentally poor.Coz they've got better things to do than torturing their brains with stupid questions like how our great social experiment is gonna end.Here comes another goodie:Those who live by the sword,shall die by the sword.What sort of parents send their kids to war?Just hand'em over to their destiny? Any halfways sane animal would fight to the last blood drop to protect its offspring.F.Ex. Try to mess with Baby Gator while mom's still around.All the slaugter,devast ation and pollution spread....Cntd.
 
 
+2 # scumbag 2015-02-07 12:09
Chapter two: on the planet is obviously our species funny ways to fight overpopulation. When the US has got the best military in the world,I really don't wanna know the worst of the worse!Concernin g the burning jet pilot,sorry folks but that sort of risk comes with the job.The main purpose of any armed forces is to KILL!!And place as much demage as possible on the so called enemy.Remember FTA,Fun,Travel, Adventure?Join the army,see foreign countries,meet interesting people.And KILL them.Okay,the U-Tube entertainment videos look a bit archaic,old school hand craft so to speak.These blokes are simply Barbarians.But that's REAL Hollywood.Diffe rent to the "Joystick-Daddy -Home-Office"ve rsion of your nice drone smooth operator neighbour.Only, he's not allowed to give you dirty details during the next BBQ.
My last post on the froggy freedom fighters must have drilled on somebodys nerv.He or she was so nice to put me straight by giving cheap advice like:"Better shut the fuck up!I can hear that sort of crap in any decent,average Red Neck Joint!".Congrat s.Actually the person should be thankful for being able to still enjoy that sort of "FREE SPEECH".Before the f..g NSA henchmen haul me away.Well,I'm growing old,fat,sick and tired anyway.To my apology I might confess,I've simply lost the battle of not to become a cynic.But let's get serious,to stay a delirious optimist,you gotta be tuff as a f..g cockroach these days.
PS.Don't kill.Without at least one good reason.POTUS-Up grade.
 
 
+7 # reiverpacific 2015-02-07 13:28
Quoting tgemberl:
Radscal,
Here's another question. We undoubtedly incinerated a lot of people when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. But that may actually have saved some lives. Do you think it was wrong to do so?

I'm not sure you can justify drones the same way. To my way of thinking, it all depends on whether the war itself is just. But in a just war, there will be some "collateral damage." There is probably no way to eliminate that completely. Even in the age of hand-to-hand combat, there was some collateral damage.

Quoting tgemberl:
Radscal,
Here's another question. We undoubtedly incinerated a lot of people when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. But that may actually have saved some lives. Do you think it was wrong to do so?

I'm not sure you can justify drones the same way. To my way of thinking, it all depends on whether the war itself is just. But in a just war, there will be some "collateral damage." There is probably no way to eliminate that completely. Even in the age of hand-to-hand combat, there was some collateral damage.


Records show that Japan was about to surrender, so "That actually may have saved some lives" is just apologist wishful thinking. Truman and his staff couldn't WAIT to show just how destructive the new global bully could be.
There is no such thing as a "Just War". Defense of one's country from a tyrannical rogue nation is necessary, which is why so many countries are finding a way to go after the US.
 
 
0 # tgemberl 2015-02-08 17:26
reiverpacific,
You could be right about the end of World War II, though that is controversial.

You wrote:
There is no such thing as a "Just War".

I would argue that at least World War II was. World War I is more questionable. It might have been better if Germany had won. If Germany had won, there would probably never have been a Nazi Party or Holocaust. So our getting into World War I to fight against the Germans was probably counterproducti ve.

But once you have regimes that worship force and violence, as Germany and Japan did in World War II, you have to stop that. The war against them was just.

Now, I wonder if you're going to say that we worship force and violence, too. We've certainly made some serious mistakes. Vietnam and the Iraq War were wrong. But we now have a president who is trying to get us to recognize the limits of power, as he did at the Prayer Breakfast.
 
 
+2 # elkingo 2015-02-07 13:59
These weapons are terrible and should not be used. I am not a pacifist but believe we should revert to "ethical" warfare, as stipulated by the Geneva Accords. Yeah, right? No warfare warfare state could conform. And I think all the wars of ours in the Middle East are crap, even evil. We SHOULD go after big time, but we don't.
 
 
-1 # Benjamin Franklin 2015-02-07 16:53
There is no question that American hands are dirty, and have been for a long time. We can trace this type of barbarism back at least to Puritan atrocities in the Pequot War, burnings that produced "a stench pleasing in the nostrils of Almighty God;" the burning alive of lynched blacks in the South, the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo, the use of napalm in Vietnam, and the effects of drone warfare today. All bear striking parallels in their wanton disregard for human life. Only the sh!thooks at Fox News and their zombied millions would disagree. And this is, perhaps, where Juan Cole's and Glenn Greenwald's articles are useful.
That said, there is a deeply disturbing whiff--more than a whiff, really--of apologia in the recent articles of Cole and Greenwald. Barbarism is barbarism, no matter who perpetrates it. Terrorism is terrorism. And the sick, twisted, perverted acts that ISIS has committed--most recently the burning alive of the Jordanian pilot and its filming--should be denounced, deplored, and condemned in the strongest possible terms...utterly and unequivocally. Not, as they are in the essays of Cole and Greenwald, so often set against arguments of passive/aggress ive apologia: but, but, we, others burn people with our weapons.
If ISIS burned Greenwald's grandmother alive on TV, I am genuinely unsure if he is capable of condemning the act unequivocally. He would probably reason the old woman had it coming cause she gave him too few cookies when he was little.
 
 
+3 # John S. Browne 2015-02-07 17:21
#

What an extremely ignorant, sick comment to make. You clearly, like so many brainwashed, corporate-fasci sm-loving "Amerikans", have little or no True Conscience. Greenwald hasn't in the least exercised "apologia" for the atrocious murders by ISIS. He's simply showing that it's a matter of degree. ISIS commits FAR LESS incinerating of civilians than the U.S. government, NATO, "al CIAduh(!)", "Israehell" and their allies perpetrate. Most of the brainwashed in the U.S. just think their "mass-murderous -machines" are glorious and really believe the major lie(s) that they're mostly only used for "self-defense"; when, in truth, they are mostly used for aggressive mass-murder because they mostly kill civilians in "mass-foul-swoo ps" and most "Amerikans" never hear about it except in places like RSN, where most of them never venture to the likes of because they don't want to hear or believe the truth. In fact, when they do stumble upon the truth in places like RSN, they refuse to believe it because they've never heard it before; or, if they've heard it a couple of times before, they've been adept at denying that it could be the truth, evidence-be-dam ned; or they've only seen and interpreted it as the false-propagand ists meant for it to only be seen and interpreted, as glorious self-defense, without showing and discussing whatsoever the thousands of innocent civilians who were mass-murdered by it.

(Continued)
 
 
+5 # John S. Browne 2015-02-07 17:23
#

The point of Greenwald's article, although it DID decry the savagery and brutality of the ISIS murders, was to show, as it did quite effectively, that the level of the U.S. government and its above-reference d partners-in-cri me's brutality and savagery is FAR WORSE than the isolated incidents that are portrayed to get "Amerikans" to support that endless mass-murder in their names to supposedly defend "liberty", "freedom" and "democracy", and "to keep us safe"; the heck with the safety of all other civilians (and, in truth, they don't care about American civilians right here at "home", either; or at least don't on an increasing basis as the "domestic military" and both the federal and local police are going more and more insane with vicious and brutal violence, and murder, against defenseless people all across the country, that is getting worse and worse, and will continue to get worse as long as most Americans continue to believe the lies that all of this aggression, both at home and abroad, "is 'justified'").

Wake up and face the whole truth, and stop it with all of your insipid, willfully-ignor ant, disgusting, truth-denying criticisms, and "apologia" for the increasing fascism.

#
 
 
-6 # Benjamin Franklin 2015-02-08 03:32
John: I've read your posts before. You are no different than the true believers over at Fox News. You are the same, just on the other side. Please get some professional help, son. The sooner the better.
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2015-02-07 18:24
Benjamin,
Your comment started out very well. The second paragraph is good, too. I was about to give you a thumbs up, but I wish you hadn't put the statement about Greenwald's grandmother in there. That ruined it.

Let's give Greenwald the benefit of the doubt and assume he'd be really upset if such a thing happened to his grandmother, but he'd still believe the West was guilty of acts just as bad. In other words, he wouldn't let his anger cloud his judgment about general issues.

I don't believe Greenwald ever said ISIS was justified in burning the Jordanian pilot.
 
 
-2 # Benjamin Franklin 2015-02-08 03:36
Fair enough, Tgemberl. The remark about Greenwald's grandmother wasn't to be taken literally. It was figurative . . . to make a point.
 

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