A few days ago I came across an article that was a "remember when this happened" piece about a group of American soldiers who faked combat situations in order to kill Afghanis (some of them teens) for sport. My initial thought was, "wow, are people still surprised by this?" At this point it dawned on me that I'm desensitized to the news, and this kind of horrible event no longer even phases me.
But with that said, these kinds of events are not only tragic for the victims, but also for the military as a whole. Whether or not we (you, I, anyone) believe in the causes of the war or support the idea of a military, the men and women who serve in armed forces do a tough job and get thrown into the worst kind of situations. In many cases like that of these murderers, the terrible, despicable minority sully the uniform worn with honor by the entire group.
Moving away from this event however, there are some days when a controversy like a few dead civilians is the last thing on the minds of the leaders of the war on terror. This is arguably the most media-covered war in history, and as such, the scandals and problems with the conflict, that could have been swept under the carpet in the past, are projected into the public eye like never before. Here is our list of the ten most notorious scandals that have rocked the world from the War on Terror.
10 The Pat Tillman Controversy
For those who either aren't sports fans or missed the hundreds of news specials about this guy (not to mention the documentary and other media) Pat Tillman was an NFL safety who left football to serve with the U.S. Army Rangers after 9/11. Already considered "tough as nails" on the field, Tillman was revered as a hero for leaving professional sports to serve his country.
9 9/11 Itself
While examining problems, scandals and controversies surrounding the War on Terror, it is impossible not to discuss the event that led to the entire operation: September 11, 2001. There are several reasons this event is controversial including the conspiracy theory that it was an inside job, to the alleged incompetence on the part of many in the intelligence community who failed to stop the attack.
The conspiracy theory argues that in short, the United States wanted an excuse to start wars in the Middle East and decided that murdering 3,000 of their own was a good idea for such an excuse. They flew planes into buildings and a field, framed some Middle Easterners for the crime and within months, boots were on the ground. Supporters of this theory cite multiple facts to support their thesis, including the idea that the WTC towers were designed to withstand plane attacks and the fact that the towers that fell seemed to do so as if they were part of a controlled demolition.
I hope you didn't think I would only focus on events from Bush's Presidency here. No, Obama's administration has contributed about as many heinous crimes and laughable policies to the war effort as his predecessor. Drones have been around for a while now, including during the Bush years, but their use has skyrocketed during Obama's time in office.
The basic problem with drones is that they are being used with increasing frequency and are, in effect, a careless weapon in many ways. The one perk of using drone warfare is that it can keep American soldiers out of harms way. If there is a hypothetical enemy encampment that would require an assault force of say, a full company, to wipe out, a drone or two could do the job with no potential loss of friendly life.
One of the most serious controversies that President Bush had to deal with during his time in charge of the War on Terror had to do with private military companies operating in their war zones. Blackwater (known as Academi these days) was the biggest name, but others, including Triple Canopy, became notorious after a few incidents that made their presence known.
The controversy around the use of contractors (both of the military and civilian type) took many forms. Some were upset that they made significantly more than regular soldiers, others were concerned with the actual costs of paying for their services (in terms of tax dollars that could be allocated to more soldiers), while others simply objected to their presence in conflict because of reports that they operated outside of the law or the idea that they fought for money rather than for the country's interests.
6 Abu Ghraib/Bagram Prison/Guantanamo Bay Scandals
Looking back through the lessons of history, the Japanese were notorious in World War Two for treating prisoners of war poorly. By poorly, I mean men were marched to their deaths and endured awful hardships. The stories from Vietnam era prison camps were little better, if at all. Even prior to these, the rules for the treatment of prisoners of war were laid out, but not every enemy follows such rules.
5 Saddam Hussein's Trial
Saddam Hussein was a pretty awful excuse for a dictator. Sure, Iraq actually fared well under his rule (subjective claim) but there was plenty of blood on his hands, whether you consider his own people murdering/kidnapping anyone who spoke against him, or even the notable gas attacks against the Kurdish population.
4 Edward Snowden/NSA Spying/Patriot Act
3 The Cost
I'd like to say something like "the United States is up to its ears in debt" but that wouldn't do the situation justice. I actually don't have a metaphor. If we believe the measure of U.S. debt being roughly $18.2 trillion (give or take a fiver here or there), that equals about $56,250 per person, if the United States has a population of 320 million. That's a staggering amount of debt.
2 Bowe Bergdahl
If it seems like I've been unfair to George W. Bush's Presidential administration, don't worry, I saved number two for one of Obama's most recent blunders. For those of you who missed 2014 in the news, Bowe Bergdahl was a United States soldier who deserted his unit and was captured in Afghanistan.
He had become disillusioned with both the war and his fellow soldiers, who he considered arrogant and insulting toward their Afghani colleagues. He detailed the shame he felt for his involvement in the war to his parents in a couple of emails that made it into the public eye. On the one hand, we saw a man who obeyed his conscience and refused to continue to participate in a conflict he came to find pointless and despicable. On the other hand however, he signed on to do a job in which others depended on him, and he left them high and dry.
1 Civilian Deaths
Civilian deaths are a reality in any war, but the War on Terror sure seems to be taking out a lot of women, children and unarmed men who do not want to get involved. Sorry if this is a tad anti-climactic, but of all the things that have killed public opinion throughout this war, it has been the civilians caught in the crossfire.
Much like the cost, there is no accurate number. In fact, the numbers for dead civilians is as varied from a very optimistic "several thousand" to around two million. Between drone strikes, trigger happy or frightened soldiers, missiles with "pinpoint accuracy" that end up hitting residential areas, the list goes on and on, there is no shortage of hazards for non-combatants. Is this a scandal? It was at first, and it is any time a new massacre shows up on the media's radar, but most people are just saying "thank God it's not happening here".
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheRichest?Get Your Free Access Now!