Collateral Murder 2.0

by | Mar 26, 2024

Collateral Murder 2.0

by | Mar 26, 2024

screenshot 2024 03 26 at 12.43.43 am

When the footage of Reuters journalists and civilians were Wikileaked to the world, there was outrage. A shame exhibited by some in the American government caused them to reel from the crime that had been exposed, to downplay the prevalence of such murders, and ultimately to shift the blame to Julian Assange and Wikileaks itself. It worked in the end: Assange is locked away in judicial purgatory, the wider world has mostly forgotten what Wikileaks has revealed, and mainstream media continues to be a predominantly homogenized mouth piece for power. Now, we see another moment of an execution of the unarmed released for the world to see, with evidence that can further prove the murderous nature of a government. But will there be any justice?

The footage came from an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) drone that Hamas had downed. The aerial predator possessed evidence of a recent execution that was handed to Al Jazeera and is now on our screens. The footage from the drone shows four unarmed males—many sources have claimed that they are “youths,” “teenagers,” or young men who are clearly unarmed—walking to the ruins of their homes. The drone sends a missile that kills three of them instantly. The remaining survivor limps his way on, making it some distance from his dead comrades before he is also blown to death. It is a cold display of the disparity of power between certain governments and their “enemies” while also showing how easy it is for killers to take life without any risk to themselves.

The four dead Palestinian males are clumped into the statistics of death. Because they are males, whatever age, unarmed or not they will likely be called “terrorists” or “combatants.” In the mathematics of government killers, any male over the age of ten is usually seen as a combatant, even if they have never waged war or have no intention to. Armed or not doesn’t matter, the possession of a penis itself is enough to confirm their guilt. And the jury of trolls and officials alike have already decided on the guilt of the dead.

As the footage has gone the rounds online, reactions confirm only what many of those watching already knew or believed. Such responses range from the disgust at witnessing a “war crime,” as though a war is being fought in the traditional sense. For those who simply hate Jews, it becomes further ammunition to feed their bigotry. For those who oppose Zionism and how the Israeli government is executing its bloody policy in Gaza, it is another example among many since October 7. Then you have the apologists, who may see all Muslims (because it’s always assumed that a Palestinian cannot be a Christian or even an atheist) as a dangerous threat. And don’t forget those who are not convinced that the killed were unarmed non-combatants, because apparently the IDF would never do such a thing.

These males were not soldiers, and by default are accused of being criminals or terrorists. But a criminal, it is understood, should still have the benefit of a trial. The accused deserve even the theatrics of justice (see the persecution of Julian Assange as an example). Instead, these executed are not even suspects of anything in particular. But they are subject by default to be killed, eradicated, and exterminated. When history gives us examples of the powerful conducting themselves with such a mindset, we know what the outcome is and we understand what the intention always was. This is genocide. Technowar has just perfected the means of murder.

To conflate the conduct that we are witnessing with any sense of rule of law, or Western values, is a pollution of the dignity of both those institutions. And above all, it validates mass murder. The escalation of extra-judicial killings from targets such as Hani Abed, who was suspected of killing two Israeli soldiers, or Yayha Ayasha, a Hamas bomb maker, now includes basically anyone in Gaza and the territories that Israel labels “Free Fire Zones,” locations that permit them to kill anyone they wish.

It is unlikely that anyone in the Israeli government has sat down and had a conference discussing the purity of anyone allowed to live and others condemned to die. Instead, the masters of asymmetric warfare, limited not just to Israel but including the world over, have decided that any male can be killed and called “insurgent,” “terrorist,” “combatant,” or “suspect.” An entire population can be exterminated over time if it is called an “embargo,” or “sanctions.”

The footage of a man, usually a teenager, peering upwards, well aware of his executioner above, reveals the inhumanity of war. Then to witness the repeated, callous observation from the drone operator’s perspective as he follows his target, life hanging in the balance, his distant finger sending the kill-signal to the airborne robot predator. It’s a finger pull that unleashes a missile which moments later blows flesh from bone in the most miserable manner.

A photo of a Japanese soldier standing over his unarmed and bound prey, with sword raised, is a black and white moment frozen in time, captured just before the death blow depicts unmistakable savagery. Rows of bound, Chinese prisoners, helpless as Japanese soldiers puncture them to death with bayonets, is known as an evil blemish in history. The Japanese Empire and its many killers conducted themselves with brutal and sadistic violence; the killing usually unordered, arbitrary and coming, from the soldiers on the ground. It was how the Japanese Empire waged war. The world judged them for it, and the shame of history is so great that it is denied or omitted to this day in Japan.

Watching social media clips of Israeli citizens and soldiers gleefully rummage through the ruins of Gaza, defiling bodies or partying outside the “warzone” as aid trucks at best trickle through barricades, is a display of sadism. It’s how Israel deals with its enemies. Atrocities are validated by a sense of supremacy; the Japanese had their Shinto beliefs and imperialistic theology, and modern Israel has wrapped itself in an equally invented imagination of ancient writ. We must remember October 7 and the terror that was inflicted upon the innocent, we are reminded. Yes, let us remember that the innocent were murdered, because that is understood to be evil.

To kill the prison guard’s families and neighbors is not justifiable, even if the guards were terrible. To kill anyone remotely associated by geography, race, or class to a terrorist is also unjustifiable. The four executed are more bodies to be added to the stack. Their killers are righteous because they have decided as much. The four had to die because the drone operator decided so. Power is its own justification and with powerful friends one will find ratification. Israel is supported by powerful friends.

Modern eyes have spectated many moments when life explodes into instant or painful death. We have watched with indignity the necrophiliac vulgarity of death porn labeled as foreign policy, simultaneously exciting the killer’s cheerleaders while inciting those near or empathetic to the victims. The dead are gone, forgotten except for that moment of viral fame. Chances are by the time this piece is edited and published, the scrolling world will have moved on, indignity washed away by whatever current receptor of digital outrage or cheer.

In Palestine, dirt is congealed into a mud that only blood and entrails create. The dead are pixels on a screen and will be joined by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, more. The killers are not running out of missiles, bullets, and dollars, but the dead and dying will eventually run out of living. Rest assured, future genocides will be in virtual reality, and easier for us to see it all while safe at home.

About Kym Robinson

Kym is the Harry Browne Fellow for The Libertarian Institute. Some times a coach, some times a fighter, some times a writer, often a reader but seldom a cabbage. Professional MMA fighter and coach. Unprofessional believer in liberty. I have studied, enlisted, worked in the meat industry for most of my life, all of that above jazz and to hopefully some day write something worth reading.

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