Thursday, July 30, 2009



By Kevin Stoda, in the Philippines Dateline July 29, 2009

The story in today’s THE GAZETTE of Colorado Springs notes, “With each roadside bombing, [Colorado Unit] soldiers would fire in all directions ‘and just light the whole area up,’ said Anthony Marquez, a friend of Freeman in the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment. ‘If anyone was around, that was their fault. We smoked 'em.’"

The problem of not holding officers and presidents [or vice presidents] accountable for bad behavior certainly led to the Colorado unit in Iraq running amok and killing and hurting so many Iraqis needlessly—i.e as well as doing all this with an apparent (at the time) belief of untouchability. Many of these same American soldiers will suffer in the USA for years to come with their consciences and memories. Iraqi victims will suffer even more, of course. Leaders who set the standards must be judged by juries and courts for those decisions. This is the American way. Perpetrators who make the decisions—starting with former President Bush, Vice President Cheney and several serving generals in the USA armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq—need to be brought to the U.S. courts so America can begin to forgive and move on.

The story, entitled “Soldiers in Colorado Slayings Tell of Iraq Horrors” from Colorado Springs is the sort of story Filipinos recall from WWII—whether from actions of the Japanese occupiers or from the supposed [American] saving forces. At least that is the case of memories in Lingayen.That Colorado tale concerns: “soldiers from an Army unit that had 10 infantrymen accused of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter after returning to civilian life described a breakdown in discipline during their Iraq deployment in which troops murdered civilians, a newspaper reported Sunday.”

Moreover, the article writer adds, “Some Fort Carson, Colo.-based soldiers have had trouble adjusting to life back in the United States, saying they refused to seek help, or were belittled or punished for seeking help. Others say they were ignored by their commanders, or coped through drug and alcohol abuse before they allegedly committed crimes, The Gazette of Colorado Springs said.” This is not an uncommon story in times of war (and due to be expected repercussions of war), but American stories that create myths about American purity of motive and action have made it worse in the days since WWII when the US first really began bombing and attacking foreign enemies in mass targeted and untargeted slaughters.


Yesterday, I was at the beaches of Lingayen in Pangasinan and the Philippine historians there tell a much different story than the more official or traditional. U.S. tale of what happened there in January 1945. There is a memorial on the Beach Lingayen to the many locals who were killed in that invasion. Apparently more civilians than Japanese were killed during this attack on occupied Philippines. The U.S. history makers claimed it was a great sea and land assault.

In late 1944 and during the first week in January 1945, the Filipino freedom fighters had sent word to USA military planners and leaders and right up through the weeks of the massive USA landing. The Filipino Freedom fighters—including soldiers abandoned by MacArthur three years earlier—stated time-and-again in their messages to the U.S. Sea Command that the Japanese had virtually pulled out of the Pangasinan coastal region and had relocated in the mountains.

These same freedom fighters indicated to U.S. leadership in their various messages that there was no need to bomb civilians at all as there were only token forces of Japanese in the area. Furthermore, these same Filipino freedom fighters were monitoring those handful of Japanese troops in and around Lingayen quite well.
On the other hand, it was true that the Japanese occupiers in January attacked the U.S. invaders heavily—with well-over 100 USA ships hit and sunk—mostly by kamikaze attacks. By comparison however, the American landing itself, had been a cake-walk because the Filipino freedom fighters were correct.

In short, it was nothing at all like D-Day in Europe--a half a year earlier. This is because the Japanese had taken their troops in to the mountains nearer to Manila in anticipation of the Allied force’s landing—and they had essentially given up the coast to the massing USA troop force out at sea.

Today—in 2009—the photos on Lingayen Beach Exhibition show Filipino non-combatants being carted off by caribou-drawn wagons for burial. In contrast to the sad scenes of devastation of Pangasinan towns along the sea coast, there are some other photos which showed that some local people pulled out old USA flags to welcome the landing forces. Meanwhile, whole towns along the coast had been wiped out by U.S. bombers on the northern coast of Pangasinan, Philippines in a matter of days.

Interestingly, American military historians have often considered the whole adventure at Lingayen to be a total success in January 1945, Filipino historians recall often that more Filipinos were killed in U.S. bombings and coastal strafing fire than Japanese soldiers in that month at Lingayen, Pangasinan.


When asked again and again why U.S. forces had attacked the towns along the Pangasinan coast so mercilessly. I.e. these were towns which were mostly totally evacuated by the Japanese military. U.S. commanders could only shake their heads and say, “We had to follow our plans.”

What kind of an explanation is that???

I’m sure that might be a good enough statement for privates during a wartime—but for USA commanders, such lame excuses, as “We were just following the playbook written by others” are the logic of weaklings and followers or incompetents. Such Admirals and generals certainly lacked any sense of accountability and responsibility. This lack of use of military intelligence to me verges on war criminality. (The Japanese are justly condemned for blowing up and killing Filipinos without conscience during their invasion and occupation.)

However, when over decades every single American war has the same crimes of negligence and irresponsibility. The senseless killing and torturing of Asians and others goes on and on by the same military.

Such negligence in thinking is certainly a crime carried out by criminals-of-sorts. What do readers think or have to say?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether it is Douglass MacArthur or recent American generals and officers in Iraq or Afghanistan, THE USA MILITARY machine continues to ignore facts on the ground, such as noncombatants on the ground when carrying out warmaking. Why has the USA milityary not improved in its capacity to protect civilians? I think it is because we never take genersl and officers in for war crimes trials like we should and as code of behavior

12:47 PM  

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