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Letter to an American Hero

The technology has changed, but we’re still fed so much bullshit as we grow up. We each so want to fit in and to be a man, and all that crap. But for some of us, after following all the rules and staying within the lines, one day it dawns on us: what we’re involved in doesn’t make any sense. We’re smack in the middle of it, we’re smart and we realize we’re part of something based on lies told to cover up other lies and screw-ups and embarrassments – all to keep the war going.

It’s so big, if you question it, you don’t stand a chance.

In my case, that realization came after I was out of the service and home, where I was safe. In your case, it seems to have come while you were in the midst of all the madness -- where you are not safe. In fact, you are in grave peril and at the mercy of a vast military and political machine much more sophisticated, secret and insidious in its practices than the military I served in 40 years ago.

I’ve been a member of Veterans For Peace for 25 years. Many members like me are in full support of you, and we will be discussing your case at our August convention. We need to lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds your case and, equally, the secrecy that keeps images and information on how we fight our wars from the American people who pay for them and in whose name they are fought.

Daniel Ellsberg was made famous for revealing the secret history of the Vietnam War in the so-called Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg has honored you. “He is the first person in 39 years to do something comparable to what I did — and really better than what I did, because it’s current.” Ellsberg said that about you.

What was so troubling for the military about the WikiLeaks “Collateral Murder” video clearly had nothing to do with security or the safety of your fellow soldiers. The “secret” was the adrenaline-pumped eagerness of the Apache gunners to kill an unarmed neighborhood man trying to help two Reuters cameramen and others gunned down by a previous burst of Apache fire.

When the Apache pilot and gunner realize they have grievously wounded two children they try to cover their guilt by snickering and commenting on the tape that the Iraqi they just killed should not have “brought his kids to a battle.” Their delusion is evident to anyone watching the video. The fact is, for the neighborhood man they just killed, it wasn’t a battle; he was just picking up the pieces from the previous shooting.

It’s all in the video, and it’s not something the Pentagon or the White House wants American tax-payers to see. The engagement in this video is not about democracy, “nation building” or helping Iraqis improve their lives. It’s about a lopsided kind of killing – like shooting fish in a barrel.

The shame and embarrassment factor is why this video was classified “secret.” There’s no good reason why the American people should not see such video material. The fact that videos like this make it harder to defend and fund the war is not a good reason to censor it.

As is the military’s inclination these days, you are being held in an extreme and rigidly controlled manner, with everything directed at weakening you and making it very difficult to impossible for anyone other than your jailers and interrogators to contact you.

We have been told WikiLeaks arranged for civilian attorneys to help you with your case. But there is a question whether these attorneys have been allowed to contact you or even whether you have been informed of their existence.



story | by Dr. Radut