News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Trophy Video

Monday, November 28, 2005

Trophy Video

Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Well that long black train got my baby and gone

Train train, comin' 'round, 'round the bend
Train train, comin' 'round the bend
Well it took my baby, but it never will again (no, not again)

Train train, comin' down, down the line
Train train, comin' down the line
Well it's bringin' my baby, 'cause she's mine all, all mine
(She's mine, all, all mine)
-- "Mystery Train" (words & music by H. Parker - S. Philips)

It appears that some mercenaries contracted by the British govt. in Iraq have taken the Hemingway wisdom that hunting humans is the greatest sport to heart. The British newspaper, the Independent, reports that two mercenaries are under investigation for randomly shooting Iraqi citizens.

Investigators allegedly have a "trophy video" in hand. This video shows the mercenaries riding around Baghdad (?) in a a car with Elvis Presley singing "Mystery Train" in the background. It shows the passengers of the car shooting others in cars behind them. You can tell when the shots hit their mark, because the cars suddenly stop, crash into the curb, or ram another car. As one site has already remarked, the banality of the evil shown in this video is insidious.

You sit there watching, trying to figure out what's happening--maybe many would not even realize what actually unfolds before them--and it slowly dawns on you what's happening. And you're not shocked, at least at first, until you actually "think" about it. Otherwise, it just seems like somebody is videotaping their drive down main street Anywhere.

The incident, if true, has some chilling ramifications; according to the article:

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.
Yes, you read right--not just wacko, rogue elements are involved in these war crimes. This article says that the security companies themselves are responsible. If true, this invovles crimes against humanity.

For anyone with a historical consciousness, it will also remind them of bounty hunters contracted by the US govt to hunt and scalp native Americans. I was also reminded of the recent scandal involving a porn site that was used by American soldiers to trade pictures of dead Iraqis they had killed.

Unfortunately, this does not surprise me, although I am surprised that it has occurred so openly and in such a cowardlyway. Anyone familiar with the NY Times TV show, Off to War, can hear the hatred and disgust that many soldiers end up feeling for all Iraqis.

In the last episode of this show, a National Guard sergeant about to go back home to his job as a policeman recounts how he must take some time to unwind. He says that if he doesn't, he's afraid that if he meets a "swarthy" middle easterner on a traffic stop, he cannot say what he might do to him.

Thus does war make of the most responsible among us murderers.

Update 11/29: Breaking: Tim Spicer stonewalling Civilian Iraq shootings inquiry?

For those who with a strong stomach, you can download the video in Windows format.

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