“As we mourn today with the Afghan people, we are steadfast in our resolve to work hand in hand with our Afghan partners to accomplish the missions and goals on which we have been working together for so long."

That’s America’s Secretary of War, Leon Panetta, shedding crocodile tears over the slaughter of 16 people in Kandahar Province , Afghanistan. Just as sincere as Charlie Manson apologizing for the Tate-LaBianca killings in 1969, except that Manson never apologized, being a murderer but not a hypocrite.

Nine days ago, as many as twenty U.S. troops engaged in systematic torture, rape, and murder in two villages, more than a kilometer apart. They might’ve been able to blame it on the Taliban except they were sloppy, leaving survivors. And the survivors talked.

Not, of course, on American television. American television, along with the ‘liberal press’ of the New York Times and Washington Post have played the story as though the single named suspect, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, was a gentle, decent man, a true patriot who signed up after 9-11 to protect his country, and who just ‘snapped’ under the strain of doing so.

A terrible aberration, that’s what it is, so regrettable. A “tragic incident... that resulted in the loss of life and injuries..." according to Panetta, making it sound like a traffic accident. Life was ‘lost’, misplaced, evidently, in the ‘incident.’ Words such as murder do not issue from his lips.

Not everyone in the American military guards his words so carefully. Take, for example, Maj. General James Mattis, who said, "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be up-front with you. I like brawling."

As journalist Stephen Lendman writes in his lengthy exposé of U.S. military actions over the recent past, "’Kill teams’ are deployed. Indiscriminate murder, sadism, and other atrocities are committed, most often with impunity. It's done for sport and lust. Celebratory high-fives follow. Rarely ever are soldiers like Jeremy Morlock punished. Others guilty like him get off scot-free, especially commanders. His 5th Stryker Brigade committed countless murders and atrocities. Cover-up involved staging incidents to look like defensive actions against attacks. Pentagon apologies ring hollow. Soldiers are trained to kill reflexively.”

What U.S. troops did on March 11th was policy. It was probably even carried out by a squadron under the direction of higher-ups. Testimony from numerous eyewitnesses contradict the story Panetta and Obama –– and the useless western media –– have been selling to a still-unconscious American public in striking and profound ways.

Here’s what America’s hookers are saying: after an afternoon of drinking, Bales went off on his own and carried out the killings unaided, including burning many of the bodies. The Associated Press cited the ‘defense team’ saying, “it’s too early to determine what factors may have played into this incident and the defense team looks forward to reviewing the evidence, examining all of Sergeant Bales’ medical and personnel records...”

One AP dispatch quoted Bales’ lawyer, John Henry Browne, formerly the lawyer for serial killer Ted Bundy, as saying, "What’s going on on the ground in Afghanistan, you read about it... but it’s totally different when you hear about it from someone who’s been there. It’s just really emotional.” I’ll just bet it is. And it’s all been so hard on Bales, who is either a designated scapegoat or a remarkably savage murderer, even by the standards set by the U.S. in recent years.

Bales’ wife, Karilyn, “offered condolences to the victims’ families on Monday” and said that the whole thing is “completely out of character of the man I know and admire.” AP wire service reports describe the man Karilyn admires as having been convicted of securities fraud in 2003, two years after joining the army in a burst of patriotism. In addition, “a Florida investment job went sour, and his Seattle-area home was condemned as he struggled to make payments on another.” He still owes $1.5 million on the fraud judgment, which arose when Bales, working as a stockbroker, “engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable investments. His legal troubles included charges that he assaulted a girlfriend and, in a hit-and-run accident, ran bleeding in military clothes into the woods, according to court records.”

Panetta couldn’t have invented a more perfect patsy, whether he did the killings by himself or not. Four tours of duty, brain injury, heard about (not ‘saw’ –– that story has already fallen apart) a fellow soldier losing a limb. That’s the haywire defense. On the other hand, if patriotism won’t cut it, if the government has to dump this guy, he’s also a convicted felon, liar, and hit-and-run driver. Either way, he’s atypical.

Either way, he’s Lee Harvey Oswald.

In Afghanistan, the evidence looks otherwise. According to local news sources, "A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province. It spent two days interviewing surviving family members, witnesses, and tribal elders. They also gathered evidence where killings took place.”

Press observers said that preliminary findings said that “Two groups of US soldiers were involved. Attacks occurred in separate villages one and a half kilometers apart.”

"We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time." said the Pajhwok Afghan News, as cited by Lendman.

Afghan’s Army Chief of Staff, Lt. General Sher Mohammad Karimi, called it "preplanned murder” and both he and President Karzai said that “multiple assailants’ were involved, according to ‘Russia Today.’

India’s ‘Siasat Daily’ headlined, “U.S. Forces raped two Afghan women” and reported that “The Afghan probe team said US soldiers systematically went from house to house in two villages, raped two women before murdering them, and at least 14 others. Some victim bodies were then set ablaze.”

Karzai and General Karimi said that “U.S. commanders stonewalled Afghan demands to interrogate those responsible and hold them accountable locally.” According to ‘Russia Today,’ “Surviving family members and witnesses said assailants had air support. Helicopters brought them in and remained overhead during the carnage.”

Well, as Americans we not only hear the Obama story almost exclusively because our media is corrupt to the core, but we’re invited to believe our people anyway. I mean, everybody knows those Afghans are unreliable.

Except that the U.S. snatched Bales out of the hands of Afghan authorities and took him out of the country, first to Kuwait, then to Leavenworth, Kansas, where nobody in the nation where the murders took place has a chance to question him.

Wherever America goes in the world, our immunity goes with it, our sovereignty, our authority. The world knows it, too. It was commonplace and accepted that when Blackwater mercenaries murdered civilians in Iraq they were answerable to no one, not even the U.S. government. Our killers have immunity, you see, from laws.

That includes immunity from international law.

The second reason it’s more likely the Afghan sources are telling the truth is the history of American fabrication when it comes to war stories. For sheer gall, it’s hard to beat the complete invention of the Jessica Lynch fable, wherein her Iraqi captors wanted to release her but the U.S. instead wanted a heroism video –– and then created one. There she was, fighting off hordes of the infidel single-handedly, until she blew the cover in front of a congressional committee, saying the video was a fake, as was the story. Runner-up in the individual category might be the Pentagon’s version of how Pat Tillman died a hero under enemy fire, until an independent, outside investigation, paid for by the family, showed he’d been shot by U.S. troops.

In fact, U.S. troops have committed atrocities by the carload over the history of the most recent wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. As is evidently the case in the Kandahar massacre, rape seems to be a repeating theme.

Stephen Lendman of Progressive Radio Network, posted this note entitled ‘Kandahar Massacre Reflects Earlier Ones’:

"Analyst Rick Rozoff called the incident "particularly egregious" because of its "cold-blooded, calculated" nature. It evoked echoes of past ones like Vietnam's My Lai, Iraq's Haditha, and two Fallujah slaughter incidents in April/May 2004, then in genocidal numbers in November/December.

"Survivors and witnesses confirmed industrial scale mass murder. Children saw parents shot. Adults lost spouses and children. Homes and stores were looted.

"Thousands of others were destroyed. A government committee found 26,000 houses damaged and another 3,000 completely demolished. They included 70 mosques, 50 schools, and Fallujah's power plant. The city depended on it for electricity, 50% of its drinking water distribution, and 70% of its sewer system.

"Overall, indiscriminate slaughter, destruction, and environmental contamination occurred. It was followed by looting, mass arrests, torture, and deaths from ill treatment and disease. A cancer epidemic followed and numerous previously unknown or rarely seen illnesses, severe congenital malformations, and more.”

For those hoping and expecting that things would change once Obama replaced George Bush, the past three years have been a nightmare.

“In May 2009, Britain's Daily Telegraph said former US General Antonio Taguba said the Obama administration sought to suppress images of US soldiers raping and sodomizing Iraqi prisoners.

“He called photos he saw explosive, saying they ‘show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency. The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough. Take my word for it.’”

Rather than try to control abuses, the Obama administration has acted to cover them up. One of the more famous involves the killing of a group of Iraqis, including two journalists from Reuters, by a helicopter gunship crew which rejoiced over the deaths and in which, as captured by audio released via WikiLeaks, they blow up people who tried to come to the aid of those initially shot, including the driver of a van who stopped in the street. Though clearly identifiable, none of these murderers were charged. Instead, the man thought to have leaked the video, Bradley Manning, was placed in prison conditions U.N. and Red Cross authorities have described as torture while he awaits trial.

Lendman argues, and I agree, that overwhelming evidence indicts the U.S. government for war crimes. The May, 2009, article described merely one example.

“These and similar incidents aren't isolated. Nor are a few "bad apples" alone involved. They're widespread, tolerated, and sanctioned up to the highest government, military, and intelligence levels in all US war theaters.

“Victims are helpless targets, including young girls and boys sodomized with phosphorescent tubes, clubs, wire, and other implements to inflict pain.

“Instead of holding those responsible accountable, Obama suppressed their crimes. As a result, they continue. The latest Afghan victims represent a drop in the ocean. International and US law principles are ignored. Atrocities follow others repeatedly."

Credible reports on America’s Iraq invasion and occupation describe soldiers being issued not only amphetamines but pornographic materials to incite crimes against women. Rape is being used by America’s military as a tactic, and the military has specifically recruited people with backgrounds conducive to it.

According to Ernesto Cienfuegos, editor-in-chief of La Voz de Aztlan:

"The American people and the rest of the world are generally not aware that the U.S. government has hired literally thousands of (mercenaries), many with notorious war crime records.

"A significant number of these are rapists, sodomites and murderers from South African and Serbia. These vile individuals work for Security Service under contract to the Pentagon.

"There are an estimated 1,500 South Africans employed by Security Service in Iraq, according to the South African foreign ministry.

"Many used their atrocities backgrounds during Apartheid to bolster their credentials to the Pentagon. Many other hired mercenaries are Serbians, known rapists of Muslim-Croatian women... The Military Police, including Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, said cells where sexual torture took place were dominated by these mercenaries in collusion with the CIA and Military Intelligence."

According to the same military sources, "film crews run mostly by mercenaries actually instigated rapes and sodomy inside Abu Ghraib prison. The mercenaries had the full cooperation of the CIA and Military Intelligence and perverted elements inside Pentagon and the U.S. government. In addition, these mercenaries trolled the Iraqi countryside for Iraqi women they could abduct, rape and film."

The foregoing of course carries a horrible dissonance for most Americans, no doubt including many of you reading this. It is so contrary to everything we’ve always been told, everything we’ve wanted to believe about ourselves.

We ignore the implications of an empire having military deployments in more than seventy countries around the world, with a yearly war and weaponry budget exceeding the combined spending of every other nation, including China, Russia, Israel, France, on earth. Why would a peaceful country do this?

We ignore, too, the ridiculous claims made preceding each new military assault. WMDs which did not exist. Civilian brutality which is pure propaganda. ‘Terrorism’, the perfect enemy which can never be defeated, thus we may continue to kill whomever we want, for any reason at all, and in fear of whom we are forced to dismantle the most important protections of liberty America has.

We’re not like that, though, not us. We’re America. We’re a democracy. We want peace.

The story we’re getting on Robert Bales and the most recent slaughter is already being spun so badly one wonders at what point Americans will begin screaming in unison. But maybe we’ll just go mute, a few malcontents hauled off for the good of the society to those new FEMA camps and the rest ordering more beer and cable in every room.

The Pentagon says Bales earned more than a dozen medals for combat and for good conduct. His wife Karilyn is quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he has made for his love of his country, family and friends."

Barack Obama said, “This incident is tragic and shocking and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.”

Lying through his teeth.