Reactions to American invasions had been met with less coverage than the current war on Ukraine. Amnesty International condemned the invasion of Ukraine and considered as an act of aggression and a violation of human rights. This invasion is reminiscent of a long history of previous conflicts in different parts of the world.
After WWII, the United States became powerful economically, technologically, and militarily. This was an American strategy to counter the Soviet Union and take over the world. Thus, a comparison between the American and Russian invasions raises multiple questions.
The following article sheds light on three times the USA was involved in wars.
- 1) My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968.
The Vietnam War in 1954 is the most famous American invasion in history. With the Cold War intensifying and the American rivalry for Communism growing, the USA adopted the 'Domino Theory' to justify its invasion. By 1962 USA’s military presence in South Vietnam reached 9,000 troops and active military support to South Vietnam against Communists back North Vietnam. The fight between the two sides only grew intense for years to come.
The war saw more than 3 million people dying and half of them were Vietnamese civilians. (The History) Many innocent people died in the war. However, the My Lai Massacre was the single most horrific crime committed by the USA forces against unarmed civilians. On March 16, frustrated from the defeat and prolonged war, Charlie and Company – part of the 11th Infantry Brigade went on searching and destroying missions in My Lai. Led by Lieutenant William Calley, when they reached the village, the soldiers only found civilians.
The commander brutally ordered to shoot the villagers including women and children. “I saw them shoot an M79 into a group of people who were still alive. But it was mostly done with a machine gun. They were shooting women and children just like anybody else,” St. Michael Bernhardt, a soldier at the scene, later told a reporter. Moreover, American soldiers slaughtered domestic animals and raped women. Not a single shot was fired at Charlie and company that day and some 500 innocent villagers died, among them were 182 women and 173 children. (The History)
Despite the attempts of the American government to hide the tragedy, Americans condemned what happened. Calley was found guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in March 1971. However, he was awarded parole in 1974. No country placed economic sanctions or cut bilateral ties with the USA.
2) Invasion of Iraq 2003-2011
On March 20, 2003, the US began its airstrikes in Iraq in an urge to overthrow Iraqi leader Saddam Hussain, who was thought to have possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).
It took 8 years of civilian casualties and US-led atrocities before the troops withdrew from the land that did not belong to them.
No one was able to get justice for those who died in the war.
Haditha Massacre- on November 19, 2005- when the US army killed 24 unarmed Iraqis, including women and children. Mahmoudiya Massacre is another tragedy that took place on March 12, 2006, when, the US soldiers stormed the house killing parents and their two daughters, including raping a 14-year-old.
These are a few of the reported cases, but hundreds of similar accounts have gone unreported.
No one knows the exact number of Iraqi unarmed civilian causalities, but they certainly passed the threshold for nations to put economic sanctions on USA and coalition forces. No nation did so because these times, the same champions of human rights were involved in killing humanity.
3) US war on Afghanistan, 2001-2021
The US war on Afghanistan was the longest US military presence in any foreign nation. After the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush faced few obstacles in his search for absolute authority in Congress to declare war on foreign countries. This is a pre-emptive tactic to strike any future terrorist threat before it begins, and punish those behind the 9/11 disaster. Afghanistan was America's first clear target. “Operation Enduring Freedom” began in Afghanistan soon after, aiming at toppling the Taliban regime and capturing Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. What appeared to be a brief, targeted operation for the United States turned into a chaotic strategy and a dead circle from which it was difficult for the United States to escape.
Notwithstanding the long-term objectives of the USA in Afghanistan, the troops, once again, committed heinous war crimes and non-combatants had to pay the price. The USA had been accused of killing civilians and raping women. The drone strikes in Afghanistan, America's worst policy, began to claim thousands of civilian lives under Barack Obama's presidency. The New York Times reported that over a five-year period, the United States carried out 50,000 drone strikes in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The legacy of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan remains not investigated. “Nobody wants to listen to us. I doubt that the murderers will face justice one day. God is our only hope,” told Mohammad Anwar, an Afghani, to Foreign Policy.
The US practised rendition, the practice of sending a foreign criminal or terrorist suspect covertly to be interrogated in a country with less rigorous regulations for the humane treatment of prisoners. This practice is not limited to Afghan prisoners, many of whom are innocent, but also applies to Iraqi civilians who have suffered the same fate. The notorious Guantanamo Bay internment camp is one of the territories where the United States committed war crimes with prisoners of war. “Those sent to Guantanamo had to undergo torture and humiliation under the command of General Geoffrey Miller.” He used government-approved “enhanced interrogation techniques” to maximum effect, reports Middle East Eye.
Who is to be held accountable?
The three cases discussed above raise multiple questions about the U.S. policy goals. Was it only collateral damage for the U.S? Who is to blame? Why is there no similar anger against the US?
Unfortunately, these questions are either legitimate or unanswered in terms of fighting terrorism and bringing free speech to authoritarian regimes. If the objective was to change the regime and bring liberal democracy, both, Afghanistan, and Iraq are in the worst conditions today since their existence and the mess America left behind is only adding misery to the lives of civilians. This is evident from the hard-liners ruling in both countries, poor economic conditions, and abuse of basic human rights.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in