‘did you pick up his brains?’

(Let the title act as fair warning. But by my reckoning, since Akins risked his life for this report, we should be willing to bear witness to his discoveries.  My deep appreciation to Matthieu Akins for his in-depth investigation.)

 By Matthieu Aikins, Rolling Stone, November 6th, 2013

‘Last spring, the remains of 10 missing Afghan villagers were dug up outside a U.S. Special Forces base – was it a war crime or just another episode in a very dirty war?

‘As Omar lay stunned on the ground, his wife and kids rushed over, hysterical, and clutched at him to protect him, but Hamza fired several shots over their heads, killing a cow and scattering the woman and children. He then dragged Omar into a small, walled apple orchard, where the other translator – a tall, sunken-eyed man who had taken the nom de guerre Zikria Kandahari, after his southern birthplace – was beating Gul Rahim in front of several Americans. In the neighbor’s orchard, Americans had found the trigger wire for the bomb that had exploded earlier in the day. As the two pleaded their innocence, one of the Americans came over and shoved Omar up against the wall, punching him. Omar says he watched as Kandahari marched Gul Rahim about a dozen yards away, and as the Americans looked on, the translator raised his pistol to the back of Gul Rahim’s head and fired three shots. When Kandahari turned and strode toward Omar, pointing his pistol at him, Omar fainted. When he came to minutes later, he was being dragged into a Humvee.

Omar was the only civilian eyewitness to Gul Rahim’s killing, but in Wardak I spoke to three of his neighbors who said they had seen the American Special Forces arrive on their ATVs at Omar’s house, had heard gunshots and, after the soldiers had left, had seen Gul Rahim’s bullet-riddled body lying among the apple trees, his skull shattered. The Americans later returned and demolished the orchard’s walls with explosives; when Kandahari saw the 12-year-old son of the orchard’s gardener, he taunted the boy: “Did you pick up his brains?”’

part I

Part II

Akins again:

‘And yet when the 2014 deadline for transition arrives and, as Obama put it in his State of the Union Address last February, “our war in Afghanistan will be over,” the quiet professionals of the Special Forces and the CIA will remain behind. They will likely operate under much less restrictive rules and oversight than the current U.S. military mission, and if the CIA’s attitude toward working with Afghan allies who violate human rights is any indication, the fight in Afghanistan may get even dirtier.

If the U.S. and NATO mission in Afghanistan stalls over negotiations and reverts to the “zero option” as it did in Iraq, the future of the country may well be one of covert warfare under the auspices of the CIA.’

While reading and listening, I began musing over my posts on ‘Rogue Soldier’ Robert Bales, and how the military predetermined that he acted alone in face of much evidence to the contrary.  In that one was a link to The “Kill Team” Photographs by Sy Hersh, 11/18/2011.

(cross-posted at My.fdl.com)

13 responses to “‘did you pick up his brains?’

  1. without even reading it, I expect there are a lot of people, twisted and deformed mentally, that join the army just so they can go somewhere, and torture, kill, mutilate people, gather body parts as souvenirs, destroy their property etc.

    Then return, and be able to say that they were doing it for you.

    Before WW2 America had a very small army. Americans did not want anything to do with war.

    This is some part a legacy of WW2.

  2. I think you are correct, mafr – the excellent narrative can be found in “An Army at Dawn” by Rick Atkinson. And just think of the propaganda blitz that Hollywood entered into at that time. At least by Vietnam the war movies were beginning to penetrate the depths, and one that I remember viewing recently about Iraq told the same story most unforgettably – “In the Valley of Elah”.

  3. the article is long, but the videos are manageable. yes, i expect that you’re right about who many of the willing military are. i know a couple like that from this valley: mean sumbitches, and bullies. mr. wd and i were discussing this morning the question of whether there are more sociopaths now than there used to be, or do we just have more access to their deeds now? tough question, and ‘both’ might be the answer.

    it’s not hard to make long lists of which things negatively affect post-modern americans, and which background atmospherics promote killing in this nation, but i’d also have to stir in the bubbles of fear and revenge that soldiers live in, and how relatively easy it would be for weak personalities to be subsumed in a dark, dark, ethos.

    but: in this case, one of the sociopathic killers was the afghan interpreter, who will presumably take the fall for all of it. my guess is that karzai won’t create the ‘zero option’, unless badgered to by the coming jirga. bribes, anyone? but along with many others, i reckon that when 2014 rolls around, there will be a hella lot of mercenaries on the ground there. Xe and others… and we’ll be payin’ the big bucks for their expedient and evil deeds.

  4. “In the Valley of Elah”

    That is an outstanding movie.

    Tommy Lee Jones, is very convincing, and is one of my favourite actors.

  5. I don’t suppose that the kids will be hesitating when they have an opportunity to revenge their father.

    as if the people like Obama instigating these wars don’t know that. Of course it’s one of their goals.

  6. Since, like ALL their others recently, this is an UnConstitutional, Illegal undeclared war outside US borders; they’re ALL Aggressive War criminals; from the ObamAssassin down to Bales (and his subordinates, who could therefore refuse to “serve” pursuant to their Uniform Code)!

  7. This is a beautiful ten minute movie made by some trekkers, in part of Afghanistan, they say unaffected by war

  8. can’t think you’re on bit wrong about revenge, mafr. i found it sad that akins wrote about the shrugs from the afghan soldiers when they discovered that a child and a few cows had been killed.

    yes, bruce, but like it or not, i do have some sympathy for enlistees since (the big bucks sign up fees included) the military is a de facto jobs program. i know many others find fault with that sympathy. what they do once they’re in is a whole ‘nother matter.

    looking forward to the video, mafr. it’s amazing how many areas can be so very different in that county (formed by the errant and idiotic stroke of pens on maps, sadly).

  9. The license and spoils of war perennially attract; but to paraphrase Steppenwolf, gawd DEM the (Obamanable) Busher man!

  10. oh, those faces in the video! but i dunno, those folks going up that cornice must be fitted with ice crampons, no? more than trekking, that’s for sure. i just can’t understand that sort of venture. that seemed like on high mountain, though; just beautiful/ thank you, mafr.

    @ bruce: yes, i want to nail obomba’s dem ass with all this stuff, even though i saw an image today with arundahati roy’s face saying that Empire is the enemy, not leaders. well, okay, but he is acting as the puppet of those who profit from war and empire…. goddam, yes.

    i do wonder if he knows, though, how far into africa AFRICOM is by now, and what the spooks are doing to rile up ‘friends of al qaeda’ et.al. to destabilize things, make them ripe for resource grabs and all.

    could fdl be more of a ghost town? eeek.

  11. CinC me! Obama KNOWS AFRICOM’s penetration because he IS one of the Company spooks who COMPRISE Our nemesis, al CIAduh*!
    *h/t Lori Price, Citizens for Legitimate Government

  12. srsly, i dunno how far his highness’s interests range. love the pimpernel. i guess that until USians can feel the pain of the deaths of folks around the globe, not just use them in aid of their political agendas, war will be everlasting. i do know that it’s a flaw that i take their deaths rather personally, but…there it is.

  13. found these items on matthieu akins’ twitter page: “Army opens criminal investigation into killings of Afghan civilians” by Barbara Starr, CNN November 7, 2013

    and some cnn video coverage; call me shocked. it’s too early to listen, but any coverage is surprising, given the past…

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