Downing Civilian Airliners and Destroying Ancient Artifacts

The US claims to be outraged by the shoot-down, but its purported indignation was easily debunked at the time of the event, when commentators reminded Washington (leaving out many other acts) that it shot down an obviously civilian plane on a commercial route, Iranian Air flight 655, killing the almost 300 civilians on board.  “The commander of a nearby U.S. vessel, David Carlson, wrote in the U.S. Naval Proceedings that he ‘wondered aloud in disbelief’ as ‘The Vincennes [the US ship] announced her intentions’ to attack what was clearly a civilian aircraft.”

The commander of the ship that targeted the civilian vessel, rather than being punished, was given the Legion of Merit, and George Bush Sr. said of the event: “I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are…”

In fact, (and mysteriously unlike the US reaction to MH-17), virtually no one in the US seemed to care about a civilian plane being shot down when Washington was the culprit.  There was “no outrage, no desperate search for victims, no passionate denunciations of those responsible, no eloquent laments by the US Ambassador to the UN about the ‘immense and heart-wrenching loss'”.

Similarly, the US vanguard has been “incensed” by the ISIS destruction of ancient artifacts.

Leaving aside that the US was destroying ancient artifacts in Iraq before an entity called Al Qaeda in Iraq (which became ISIS) ever came into existence thanks to the US invasion, the US has a long record, dating to its origins, of decimating ancient artifacts around the world.  For example:

The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos. Scattered in the landscape of the Xieng Khouang plateau, Xieng Khouang, Lao PDR, are thousands of megalithic jars.

Initial research of the Plain of Jars in the early 1930s claimed that the stone jars are associated with prehistoric burial practices. Excavation by Lao and Japanese archaeologists in the intervening years has supported this interpretation with the discovery of human remains, burial goods and ceramics around the stone jars. The Plain of Jars is dated to the Iron Age (500 BC to AD 500) and is one of the most important sites for studying Southeast Asian prehistory. The Plain of Jars has the potential to shed light on the relationship between increasingly complex societies and megalithic structures and provide insight into social organisation of Iron Age Southeast Asia’s communities.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, Washington carried out a genocide campaign against Laos (and all of Indochina), planting and detonating more explosives there – mostly in the Plain of Jars – than the allies dropped in all of WW2 – millions of tons.  As an expert on the subject, Fred Branfman, reported (ch. 18), “the entire aboveground society [was] leveled.”

Bombs planted by the US explosive teams included 262 million cluster bombs, an estimated 80 million of which did not explode on impact, and continue to kill Laotians today.  Post-bombing deaths number in the tens of thousands.

The Laos example thus illustrates both points: Washington’s high regard for ancient artifacts as well as civilians.

It would cost $16 billion to clean up the remaining bombs in Laos, which continue to kill, maim, and/or blind three year olds, etc.  While the US spent 18 million per day in its 9+ year Laotian genocide campaign, it has to date only devoted 85 million, or .005%, of the $16 billion required to dispose of the remaining bombs, which mostly effect kids, since they look like toys.

Meanwhile, the US gives almost 4 billion a year in aid to an extremely rich country, Israel, spends trillions on further war-making, and recently allocated 1 to 1.5 trillion to illegally advancing its nuclear arsenal, of which MIT Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, Theodore Postol, said, “It is hard to understand what the Obama White House thinks it is accomplishing by pushing such a counterproductive program”.

While journalist Brett S. Morris believes the US will not help rid Laos of the unexploded bombs because “it simply doesn’t care”, New York businessman Dori Shimoda, who started Give Children a Choice, says the continued US bombing of Laos through unexploded bombs is “by design.  The intent was to maim not only at the time [of the bombing], but after the fact.”

Indeed, at the time of the campaign, Branfman stated that “There’s a good deal of evidence to suggest that the US has been carrying out the most protracted bombing of civilian targets in history”.

Why did the US push its Laotian killing campaign to such a massive scale?  Once Washington had finished bombing Vietnam, it had planes sitting around with nothing to do.  “It was not that there was some increased strategic threat on the ground.  It was simply that the planes were available.”  This is confirmed in official government records.

Soldier Lee Thorn, who participated in and witnessed the US bombing, says it was “just murder … mostly what we were doing was killing civilians”, and that all but one of his fellow soldiers were “just cackling up there” in the planes as they “took out” entire towns.

Author is a US-based researcher focusing on force dynamics, national and global.  @_DirtyTruths