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Home > Politics

Moral Panic

3 June 2006

There's really no good way to spin Haditha - the alleged cold-blooded slaughter of 24 Iraqi civilians by rampaging, idiot US marines. As soon as the words 'Iraq's My Lai' left the first commentator's mouth, that was it. This will make the Abu Ghraib scandal look like some kind of cute Belushi-like frat house hazing ceremony. (After all, it *has* been suggested that the only reason they used snarling army dogs was because sheep in baseball caps and frilly panties were so hard to come by in the desert.)

No, the shooting dead of the very innocents that the Iraq operations were meant to liberate and protect will only be met with horror and disgust, even from some of the staunchest long-term supporters of Bush and the war. The only thing the US administration can do is announce that they're going to make troops undergo ethics training - or education in the disturbingly Playstation-like, agenda-defeatingly gung-ho 'core warrior values' - so that at least the howls of international outrage will be accompanied by shrieks of cynical laughter.

So what can battle-deadened grunts expect to find on the curriculum of Ethics 101, as they sit down to contemplate it all several lifetimes too late?


1) Protestations of innocence are occasionally genuine, and not just something Hajis do to wrongfoot you.

2) It is not respectful to call Hajis 'Hajis', but since they don't understand English, you're probably OK. They'll still be grateful you haven't shot them in the back after they've surrendered.

3) Even if you think the My Lai massacre was 'kinda cool', it's probably not a good idea to say so out loud. Although if you are under severe stress and have like a ton of dust in your eyes, then it's understandable if you want to let off a little steam.

4) Even if you think your necklace of human ears is 'awesome', it's probably not a good idea to wear it in the field as it may frighten or upset civilians.

5) Try to address civilians with courtesy i.e. 'Please stand against the wall ma'am' is preferable to 'Git over there, ya goat-fucking whore'.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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