Reading a conservative blog this morning, I see that the few remaining faithful are crying that the Marines involved in the Haditha incident should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Does the concept of innocence even exist for our troops in Iraq? We attacked their country. Our leaders chose to dispatch our forces to a nation that had committed no crime against the United States of America, that presented no threat to our national security. The incumbent administration took full advantage of a political climate charged with 9/11 bloodlust to mount an invasion whose true justifications were back-room politics, power-lust, and avarice. An invasion they had planned for a decade and chose to launch the instant the political tide turned favorable. From the moment the first US jet aimed a missile or dropped a bomb that took one Iraqi life, the hands of the US military were irredeemably covered in innocent blood.

What a country! We’ll slap a fifteen-year-old in prison for the rest of his life because he sat outside in a car while his buddies used a gun he didn’t know about to kill a convenience store clerk. But when it comes to the deaths of tens of thousands directly caused by our leaders’ lust for world dominance, we cry “Innocent!” Make no mistake: All the blood shed in that country since we attacked –the blood of savagely beheaded hostages, the blood soaking the uniform of a soldier cradling the body of a tiny girl mortally wounded by an “errant” bomb, the blood of our own troops dismembered by countless IED’s, the blood of young Shi’ite men herded off a bus and executed by “insurgents”—every drop of that blood is on our hands.

It can come as no surprise that our troops are now in the business of heaping atrocity upon insult. War is atrocity. It’s not a damned video game, people. It’s not about a bunch of superheroes being dispatched to all corners of the globe to whup up on the bad guys. It’s about blood and guts and gore and murder, hatred and fear, aggression and insanity. It’s about every single thing that is ugly and hopeless about the human race. And we made a conscious decision to take that atrocity and release it in another country. A country conveniently distant from our own home shores.

Conservatives are ever so fond of the concept of “taking responsibility.” It is way past time for them to walk the walk when it comes to this war. We started it. Our troops are not innocent of anything that happens in Iraq as a result of the war we chose to make.

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