We can all admit that much of what we are told in the media and by our politicians, on both sides of the aisle, serves an agenda other than truth or presentation of the facts.
The most recent proof that we cannot trust everything we hear and see, even from mainstream media, is the scandal and subsequent firing of a CBS producer who intentionally slanted a story by editing the 911 tape in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.
I’ve written about this disconnect from reality in regards to this war before as well, http://plainfield.patch.com/blog_posts/who-desecrated-the-korans-in-afghanistan
Another prime example is the case of a U.S. soldier going on a shooting rampage and killing 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children. We’ve all seen the headlines, it’s been reported all over the world, so it must be true.
However, as soon as you look into the story, and particularly if you followed it as it unfolded, you know that the truth is very, very different from what has been reported. In fact, the initial reports were in themselves contradictory. The only known truth is we will never know the whole story.
Some would say the whole story doesn’t matter as much as the 16 dead civilians, nine of whom were children. The problem is, even those numbers are at best questionable. Some reports say 11 people, some of whom may have been civilians or even children. Some reports quote a supposed family member who says he saw 11 of his kin killed, but he goes on to say he had left the town the day before, accounting for the fact that he is alive.
Others say it was a group of soldiers who were drunk and laughing, yet the Department of Defense says according to video surveillance, there was only one soldier on tape leaving and then re-entering the base. The same defense sources say that soldier came back onto the base and laid down his weapon and surrendered to post security.
Even this account is fishy at best. Ask anyone who has served over there and they will tell you there is no such thing as a soldier simply walking off a base in the middle of the night. His departure would be noticed, and according to the defense department’s own statement, was not only noted but videotaped.
What hasn’t been said is protocol would have required that the soldier be ordered to stop within a few steps and if he didn’t, others would have gone after him before he got 10 paces away.
Before the story was more than a few hours old, there was a report that this soldier, who had at that time mercifully not been named in the media, had been on a patrol in the previous days, a patrol that was attacked. In that attack, his best friend was shot.
In response to that report being leaked, "official" sources leaked that the soldier in question was suffering from PTSD and a suspected TBI, or traumatic brain injury. That part both galled and shocked me, both for what it said and for the fact that the talking heads in the media did not pick up on the implications.
If command knew they had a soldier who sustained a severe TBI and they did not send him home for treatment, or at least to a hospital away from the front lines, what does that say about how our soldiers are being cared for? In the same vein, if command knew this soldier was affected by PTSD and they did nothing for him, again, what are we to think of how our soldiers are being treated?
There is, however an alternate explanation, but not one we are likely to see supported, reported or acknowledged, at least officially. It goes something like this:
A unit goes out on patrol, and while passing through a village is attacked. Because of the recent media SNAFU’s (a military acronym for Situation Normal, All [bleeped] Up), command orders the unit back to base, with no followup on the insurgents hiding in that village. Standard operating procedure is to send reinforcements to the area to apprehend if possible, kill if necessary, those responsible for the attack.
Because command has been ordered by politicians to not give the enemy any further fodder for misinformation and propaganda, this order was not followed. A soldier, who watched his best friend get shot and who has watched friends die, refuses to accept that those insurgents will not only go unpunished, but will be left in place to attack another patrol on another day.
He complains to his command, who tells him these are the orders as they have come down the chain. Late that night, an intentional blind eye is turned while the soldier leaves camp and goes to the village in search of the enemy. He finds the enemy hiding in a house with women and children, who are then used by the enemy as human shields, firing at the soldier from behind and, yes, through, the bodies of the civilians. The soldier returns fire, killing the enemy.
At the sound of gunfire, other enemies hiding in neighboring houses are alerted. As the soldier follows the sounds of gunfire and screaming villagers to the next houses, he encounters more of the enemy and the situation replays, much as it did in the first house. Knowing his career is over and he at best faces a dishonorable discharge, the soldier returns to base, surrendering his weapon to those on guard duty and reports “mission accomplished.”
Anyone who's ever served will hear the ring of truth in the above account. They'll pray the soldier is given an “other than honorable” discharge, an official diagnosis of PTSD and TBI, allowing him to attempt to pick up the pieces of his life, for his and his family’s sake. Command is not above offering up an official sacrificial lamb.
To paraphrase a famous quote - Repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.