Alleged Afghanistan murders and Australia’s ongoing role in the American empire

Contributed by Joe Montero

Revelations of executions of unarmed civilians by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan should come as no surprise. Although those found guilty of perpetrating these crimes deserve to pay the consequences, Australia would be remiss to fail to understand such killings are a consequence of the type of wars we keep on being dragged into. These aren’t wars to defend Australia or those countries where war is waged

Soldiers are being sent to fight under lies. The enemy, it turns out, is a civilian population seeing these soldiers as invaders of their country. This creates the tension creates that leads to atrocities. In addition to killing innocents, it harms Australia’s reputation and relations with the rest of the world.

SAS soldier Ben Robert-Smith is before the court over allegations that he executed a civilian with a prosthetic leg and ordered the execution of an elderly man. Two of his former SAS comrades have testified against him.

Australian special forces soldiers and friends drank from the prosthetic leg of the allegedly murdered Afghan man in a bar called the Fat Ladies Arms

One of the witnesses known as Person 41 said, “‘RS’ then reached down and grabbed him by the shoulder and flipped him onto his stomach. Then I observed him lower his machine gun and shoot approximately three to five rounds into the back of the Afghan male.”

Person 41 also told the court about hearing Roberts-Smith order another soldier to shoot the other civilian.

Australian special forces soldiers and friends drank from the prosthetic leg of the allegedly murdered Afghan man in a bar called the Fat Ladies Arms

Robert-Smith has denied the allegations and claims an armed combatant were shot and he didn’t order the execution of the other.  

These are not the only allegations of civilian killings in Afghanistan, and there are enough of them coming out to indicate this is almost routine. There has been cover up by the Australian Armed Forces brass, and so far, a lack of action to prevent this from continuing.

And there is reason to believe that such killings are not confined to Afghanistan. War has been waged against civilians in Iraq and Syria, and soldiers are trained to distrust everyone. This was a big issue in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Soldiers go there already primed to hate the people they come across.

Photo from the ABC: A civilian being executed in another incident in Afghanistan

Ultimately, it is the politicians and generals who set the bar and send thew soldiers. They paly a hand in the killings and should shoulder the responsibility. It does not take a genius to work out that for them war is business.

Australia has long been locked into shirt fronting to help build the American empire around the world. This is a predatory empire built on the exploitation of nations and denial of aspirations for self-determination. Washington gives itself the right to determine how anywhere it has an interest in is governed. The succession of wars over a good part of the last century have been about enforcing this self-given right.

Photo from PBS: Scene from the infamous Mai Lai Massacre targeting civilians in Vietnam, which helped expose the true nature of that war

Washington has a major influence over Australia’s politics dominion over Australia’ s relationships with other countries. This is the content of the so-called U.S. Australia alliance, the integration of the Australian Defence Forces into the American military, and the participation in a succession of wars.

The shirt fronting is now being applied to the relationship with China. This will undoubtedly now be extended to Russia. Australia’s soldiers are being primed to hate in a far more dangerous situation, which has already put most of Asia and many other countries offside. The conditions for more atrocities are being set.

Australians can make all the difference. A new anti-war movement is beginning and all of us can become part of it. Australia must break out of the Washington war machine and act independently to a more harmonious world of equals. Our soldiers must be turned to the defence of our own land and people.

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