By Dennis Etler
Wars of aggression launched by the US government have been supported by both political parties and ballyhooed by the US media throughout the country's history. The few dissenting voices are at first silenced, but eventually gain credence as the wars are inevitably shown to be illegitimate. In order to save face and maintain a scintilla of legitimacy, the US will sacrifice a few in order to exonerate their immoral invasions and slaughter of the innocent.
Casualty figures show it all. If you look at all US wars the kill ratio is 1:100. One US fatality for one hundred of the "enemy," and the enemy consists overwhelmingly of civilians versus combatants. Since the end of WW2, this has occurred in Korea, Vietnam, Central America, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In keeping with the brutal conduct of its wars of choice massacres of civilians by US armed forces and their surrogates are commonplace. Most of these atrocities are covered up and are only brought to light decades later, such as the massacre of civilians at No Gun Ri in Korea which was only brought to light 50 years after it happened.
Certain atrocities, however, are so blatant that they gain immediate publicity, and the war criminals responsible may actually be brought to trial and convicted. Such was the case with Lt. Calley and the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, Staff Sgt. Bates and the Kandahar massacre in Afghanistan, and the perpetrators of the Blackwater massacre in Iraq.
These show trials are meant to shift the blame from those ultimately responsible, the US government and its media minions, to the instruments of their implementation, the soldiers and mercenaries on the ground who conduct operations pursuant to the objectives of those in command. Saying so is not to exculpate those who committed the crimes, but to place the onus on those who initiated and conducted the illegal wars, to begin with.
It is also par for the course, that once the winds blow over and the clouds of war clear, the culprits are pardoned of their crimes and set free. This has happened time and again, from Lt. Calley to the latest pardons by Trump. This pattern of behavior speaks to the barbarity and criminality of US wars of aggression and its refusal to take responsibility for them. Hence the pattern is bound to repeat itself until the brutal system of US Imperialism is finally defeated and laid to rest.
Dennis Etler is an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs. He’s a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. He has a PhD in anthropology from the University of California in Berkeley. He recorded this article for Press TV website.