April 25, 2011

Giles Watson's tribute to Ethan McCord, Bradley Manning and the victims of "Collateral Murder".


Collateral Murder
(Words and Music by Giles Conrad Watson)

Somewhere in New Baghdad, one morning in July,
Two Apache helicopters cruising in the sky;
Two journalists out walking: Saeed and Namir,
Cameras hanging casually, not a sign of fear,
And up in the Apache, the troops are so bored sick,
One shouts, "That's a weapon! Yeah! Fuckin' prick!
Get on 'em an' open up. Set 'em all alight!"
He's laughing as New Baghdad dust is rising in his sight.
This is your collateral murder.
Saeed falls to ground at once; Nameer makes a dash,
The Apache circles round, and hurries in to splash
His blood upon the pavement, he judders and he falls,
And still he's groping forward, trying to make it to the wall.
"Come on now buddy," the murderers all shout,
"Pick up a weapon!" though his guts are spilling out,
Nameer on his cellphone is running out of breath
And the finger on the trigger is itching to deal death.
They're coming to his rescue: a family in a van,
Heedless of the danger: a brotherhood of man,
But inside the Apache, they're boiling up with rage,
Like boys on Nintendo: "Let me engage!"
The shells, they fly in flurries, the rescuers, they fall:
Two run for cover and are shot straight through the wall,
And while they're up there laughing, "Look what we did!"
Someone else sees movement: "Seems like it's a kid."
Ethan McCord, a US soldier on the ground,
Hears Apaches shooting -- he's familiar with the sound --
He comes to the van and he opens up the door:
A little gut-shot girl -- casualty of war --
And as she's rushed away, her father lolling dead,
He pulls out a boy with shrapnel in his head.
"What the fuck you doin'?" his C.O. demands,
"They're just Iraqi kids! We got war on our hands!"
Later in the barracks, Ethan McCord
Sees the scene inside his head; it cannot be ignored.
He goes to the psychologist, who says "You're just a whiner.
Quit being a pussy -- get the sand out your vagina.
You need to suck that shit up -- a soldier's got to take it."
But when we know the truth, there's some of us can't fake it,
'Cause when the Iraqi sun is setting like a flood,
Ethan sees his tunic dappled with Iraqi blood.
Bradley Manning finds the video - his emotions hurled
Into tumult -- and he baulks -- and he leaks it to the world:
"A battle with insurgents", the Army spokesmen claimed -
The killing of two journalists, two children orphaned, maimed -
And Bradley is arrested: he's the one who's made to pay
For telling us the things we should all know anyway:
That terrorists fill New Baghdad, they hoard it like a swarm,
And more than half are wearing US Army uniform.
Now Manning has no window; he is never left alone,
Manning has no internet, Manning has no phone,
Manning has no underwear, he sleeps inside a smock,
No sheets upon his bed, no contact and no clock.
Obama in your White House, with your smiles and your ties,
Will you let them get away with it, perpetuating lies?
And those Iraqi children, with wounds in guts and head,
Are they forever crippled, do they weep, or are they dead?

Song Lyric by Giles Watson, 2011. My sources are the three videos on the WikiLeaks site collateralmurder.com, and various internet and newspaper resources on the plight of the heroic 22 year-old Private Bradley Manning, who leaked a video of the disgusting events described above, along with other documents revealing war-crimes committed by US forces in Iraq, and is now detained by the US government in conditions which have aroused the suspicion and criticism of Amnesty International and the United Nations. I have tried to stick as close as possible to the dialogue recorded on the helicopters, augmented with the testimony of Ethan McCord.

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