It’s Déjà vu all Over Again: The Balandi, Afghanistan Massacre and the Lessons Unlearned from MyLai

Gary G. Kohls, MD

Well, this is the anniversary week of the infamous MyLai Massacre, March 16, 1968. 1968 was the year that “everything happened.” Here is a short list of significant events: the Tet Offensive, the beginning of the defeat for the U.S. in Vietnam; the Prague Spring anti-totalitarian revolt and its ultimate violent repression by the USSR; student antiwar revolts on college campuses; world-wide protests against the Vietnam War; pro-worker revolts in France; LBJ’s announcement to not seek a second term; MLK’s and RFK’s assassinations by alleged “lone gunmen”; the Democratic National Convention with police state-style repression (a la the USSR in Prague) against nonviolent antiwar protestors; the Biafra mass starvation; El Al jet airline hijackings; the Black Power salutes at the Mexico City Olympics; and inner city riots against institutional poverty and racism.

And now we are reminded that the U.S military is still perpetrating atrocities similar to the mass slaughter of 500 unarmed Vietnamese women and children at the farming hamlet of MyLai, one of hundreds of lesser mass killings, nearly all of which were successfully covered up by the censorious military machine, using officers such as that young U.S. Army major, he of the notorious Americal Division whose name was Colin Powell (which is another story), one of many commanding officers in Vietnam who ordered regular terrorizing raids of farming villages in order to “detain” (and to torture) military-age males who could theoretically be leaving their farm fields at night to join the freedom-fighters who were trying to drive out the foreigners who had invaded their sovereign nation.

Obeying orders,
be they legal, illegal,
stupid, or senseless

Nighttime raids—stupid, senseless, or not—using overwhelming lethal force, superior technology, and psychologically traumatizing threats of death or rape are the norm for the “boots on the ground,” whether American, Syrian, Israeli, or of other nationalities who are under oath to obey orders that come from the chain of command above them—whether those orders are legal, illegal, stupid, senseless or otherwise.
And now we have another MyLai-type massacre of innocent, unarmed women and children in Afghanistan, orchestrated by a military machine that claims to be capturing the “hearts and minds” of the population. Hogwash.

The terror raid that made the news this time was also accomplished by U.S. soldiers, but this one was done in another time and place. Don’t be naïve, but the raids, just like Vietnam, have been happening nightly all over Afghanistan for the last decade and involve Afghan villages and homes that are, like Vietnam, occupied by unarmed women and children. Contrary to MyLai, no year-long cover-up attempt was made by the Pentagon. These actions, by definition crimes against humanity, have finally reached the consciousness of the nation.

Kathy Kelly,
whistle-blower for peace

Kathy Kelly, nominee for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (, and co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, was interviewed by Amy Goodman this morning (Monday, March 12, 2012) on Democracy Now ( Kathy and Amy talked about the Balandi Massacre that occurred early Sunday morning the day before, when much of the Western Christian world was devoutly attending worship services and praying for peace.
Kelly, an Irish Catholic layperson with impressive Christian peacemaker credentials who has an honorary doctor of theology degree, has visited the Northland a number of times in recent years on lecture tours. She has been a frequent, on–the-ground eyewitness to the consequences of U.S. wars of aggression (as opposed to the selective, sanitized, and very brief tours that are given to our armored-vest-attired presidents, vice-presidents, senators, congresspersons, and the numerous wannabe politicians who are aspiring to higher office). Kelly and a number of others, including Duluth’s Michelle Naar-Obed, have been courageous witnesses to the unending U.S. wars over the decades since the Pentagon got over losing the Vietnam War. Kelly has been a frequent visitor to Afghanistan and Iraq ever since those two morally bankrupting misadventures were started by George Bush, Jr. and that lamentable crew of pro-war chicken hawks who didn’t know what they were doing but had the power to do it anyway. Kelly was even in Baghdad the night the bombing began nine years ago this month.

Kelly, contrary to the experiences of the saber-rattling war-mongers in both U.S. political parties, witnessed the air bombardment that launched the rolling quagmire that had to be justified by the standard lies that seem to start all wars. She has subsequently witnessed, via dozens of trips to the Middle East, the predictable consequences of the atrocity-producing military occupation known as Gulf War II.

Atrocity-producing night
raids are the status quo
in Afghanistan

Kelly authoritatively states that such terror raids happen many times a night all over Afghanistan. Innocent women and children are routinely terrorized, wounded (including rape) and murdered, and we brainwashed American consumers of the patriotic blather that spews from the war-complicit corporate media never hear a truthful word about them.

But now we have had a sobering but still highly sanitized glimpse of one of those raids that resulted in the murder of “over a dozen” innocent women and children in two separate villages, with many of the corpses, with single shots to the head, being subjected to attempted incineration—but without the benefit of Auschwitz-style ovens.
Interestingly, this horrific episode is advertised to have been perpetrated by the classic “lone gunman,” whose testimony will not be heard by us consumers and who will then be easily sacrificed, taking the blame for the others who were on the “search and destroy” mission in the two villages. It is interesting to note that the likely patsy (plus any teammates involved in the raids) is a U.S. Army sergeant with three spiritually and psychologically traumatic tours in Iraq under his belt. This unnamed soldier, who was recently “attached” to “kill units” of Green Berets and/or Navy Seals, is highly likely to have been under the influence of homicide-inducing psychotropic drugs that are handed out like candy to active-duty soldiers.

If I were a betting person, I would put money on the military’s internal affairs officers not asking about—or if they ask, not revealing—the nature or names of the drugs the “lone gunman” and his cohorts were taking or withdrawing from (just like our uniformed investigating officers in the U.S. don’t ask about or otherwise keep secret what were the brain-altering synthetic prescription drugs that school shooters, workplace shooters, and assorted suicide victims were taking or withdrawing from, so as not to affect the profits of the guilty pharmaceutical companies or the reputations of the unaware physicians or medics who prescribed those drugs).

“Nobody is allowed in
any religion to kill
children and women.”  
– Samad Khan, Afghani
farmer (11 members of
his family, all women
and children, were
massacred by the
U.S. military on
March 11, 2012)

Below is an excerpt from one of the media accounts of the Balandi massacre and attempted incineration, by unnamed U.S. soldiers, of some of the corpses of 16 unarmed civilians from two villages on March 11, 2012. The U.S. military thinks we consumers of their propaganda will naively believe that the massacre was committed by a single gunman.