By Ahsan Waheed
The discovery of a very large consignment of adult pampers in a consignment meant for US troops in Afghanistan has led to laughter all around especially among their hosts—the Afghans. Apparently the pampers are used by troops so that they do not have to get out of their bunkers at night and so that they are not caught in vulnerable positions by enemies lurking all around them.
Earlier a video had surfaced showing US Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. Such desecration is particularly repugnant to Islam and such treatment of the enemy dead is seen as cowardly and immoral. The US has indicated that the Marines involved in such shameful behavior have been identified. Even if they are punished the damage is done because it shows a mind set and reflects poorly on discipline and training of US personnel. There was also the much publicized case of Western troops cutting off body parts of dead Taliban to take home as trophies. This had sent a surge of hatred and violence not just in Taliban ranks but all Afghans—even those forced to accept them as allies.
Much earlier in Iraq there was the scandal of ill treatment of Iraqi prisoners—even sexual abuse by US male and female soldiers. Even dogs were used and the sole purpose was humiliation of the enemy when he could not retaliate. Iraqis will not forget. Similar abuses and torture have been reported in detention centers in Afghanistan. President Karzai has been forced to publicly condemn the infamous night raids on Afghan households where not even women and children are spared. Karzai has also acted against the US contractors who are drawn from the ranks of jobless veterans and are truly at the bottom of the food chain in their homeland. These agents have no ethics or morals and are trigger happy killers as the Raymond Davis affair indicated to the whole world. Guantanamo is too well known to comment upon and now there is the new US law under which people can be detained indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism.
Some concerned quarters are now raising concerns over the large numbers of Iraqis and Afghans killed in the US war on terror. US statistics only tally American deaths—there are no statistics on others killed and maimed. The effect on US servicemen is however extreme as is evident from the large numbers suffering from post trauma stress disorder-a euphemism for the reaction from brutalities seen and carried out. As more troops head home the violence in the ‘homeland’ is sure to increase and will be directed at the most vulnerable segment of society. In the countries where the US has operated a backlash of hatred is already evident making new US allies like India wary and careful how far they go in an embrace that always betrays. An article in the NY Times Jan 15 details the post US reaction in Iraq against US contractors.