By MARC McDONALD
Out of the mind-numbing blizzard of horrific stories emerging from the Iraq fiasco, one particular story has haunted me over the past few months. It is a stomach-churning Associated Press story from November:
"One of four U.S. soldiers accused of raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl last spring and killing her and her family pleaded guilty (Nov. 15) and agreed to testify against the others. Spc. James P. Barker agreed to the plea deal to avoid the death penalty, said his civilian attorney, David Sheldon."
The military judge presiding over the case asked Barker why he participated in the attack in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad.
"I hated Iraqis, your honor," Barker is quoted as saying in the courtroom.
And what, exactly, might have motivated this hatred for the Iraqi people?
To get the answer to this question, you need look no further than the lies that George W. Bush has been steadily feeding our troops over the years.
As Mark Crispin Miller noted in his 2004 book, Cruel and Unusual:
"Bush sent a very different message to our troops....by harping on Iraq's alleged complicity in 9/11, and by hyping the fictitious `terrorist threat' posed by that nation. Because of such inflammatory propaganda, our troops were motivated mainly by a craving for revenge, as after the destruction of Pearl Harbor. Throughout the march to war, and through the first year of the war itself, payback was on everybody's mind. `The only thing that motivates all the soldiers fighting in Iraq is payback for Sept. 11, 2001,' reported Reuters."
"That lust for righteous vengeance has helped push our troops toward barbarism---which is often frightening even to themselves."
In the aftermath of the horrific atrocities committed by our troops against the Iraqi people, the U.S. media can be counted upon to do a great deal of soul-searching, hand-wringing "how could this happen?" type stories. We've seen this happen over and over again in Iraq.
But for anyone wondering how our troops could be so savage and barbaric at times, I think the finger of blame should be pointed at the Bush White House for the steady diet of lies and misinformation it has fed to our troops.
The fact is, the Bush White House has deliberately lied to our soldiers in Iraq. By feeding them a constant stream of bullsh*t about Iraq's "ties" to 9/11, the Bush team has created a situation in which our troops are filled with rage and hell-bent on vengeance: a situation that has been directly responsible for the barbaric acts that we've seen committed by U.S. troops in Iraq.