‘Dirty Wars’ presents chilling perspective to U.S. war on terror

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Blake Becker

Image used under fair use doctrine
Image used under fair use doctrine

Dirty Wars, directed by Richard Rowley, follows the intricate story of war journalist Jeremy Scahill through his investigation into an unnecessary U.S. military raid on an innocent civilian household in Gardez, Afghanistan that left children, men and pregnant women dead with no reason or explanation. Rowley finds that this incident is just the tip of the iceberg in an organization of shady incidents that go unnoticed by the media and the world.
As Rowley continues to investigates for the perpetrators, the ones ordering it and the reasoning behind it, he comes across a scarcely known U.S. military branch called the Joint Special Operations Command, a black ops military unit originally meant to work completely under the radar, unknown to any civilians, foreign countries or the media. JSOC’s purpose is to conduct military raids and hits on a list of people who pose any potential terrorist threat to the U.S. and to follow all orders, no matter the logicity, to their full extent with enough discretion to prevent any link to the military.
Being off the grid and known by only certain U.S. government officials, JSOC is able to act, barely restricted by international law and regulations, allowing JSOC to perform greatly condemn-able acts unnoticed. With this powerb JSOC even operates outside of the official warzones like Afghanistan and Iraq to conduct raids and assassinations on any suspected targets in 75 countries outside of declared warzones.
On Dec. 17, 2009, A deadly incident occurred on the south coast of Yemen in the village al-Majala in the Abyan province, where a U.S. ship fired five cruise missiles carrying cluster bombs (which are not allowed for use by the U.S.) into the village, killing 58 innocent civilians, among them 12 women (five of them pregnant), and 22 children. When Rowley investigated this incident, it was clear from the remnants of the shells that the bombs belonged to the U.S. military.
However, when Rowley presented this information to mass media, many organizations claimed that his report was inaccurate, and when he presented the information to U.S. government officials, responsibility for the strike was avoided. The reasoning for this strike was that the village contained tribes that may have targets on JSOC’s hit list included within their ranks, but is discredited with it being only an uninformed hunch, as the tribe suspected was one of the least powerful and influential in Yemen, and the area hit by the bombs was a mainly rural area.
As the documentary continues, more and more immoral ineffective acts of counter-terrorism become unearthed by Rowley, from the U.S. support of warlords in Somalia, to the assassination of a U.S. citizen unaccused of any crime and his 16 year-old son. Dirty Wars throws many wrenches into the current perception of how the U.S. handles the war on terror, and puts into question the sanity of the U.S. Congress and the President. The movie is a revelation about corruption in U.S. government that goes just as deep as the Watergate Incident, as the revelation of abhorrent crimes committed by the U.S. in war that go unanswered is constantly astonishing, and easily makes one question their beliefs about the U.S. government, as the self-fulfilling prophecy is constantly repeated through the killing of innocents that then gives rise to vengeful relatives seeking jihad.
By Blake Becker