Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Collateral Damage

The news scroll came up on the bottom of the screen here the other night, 76 civilian deaths in U.S. air strikes, in Afghanistan. U.S. disputing the report, insisting that terrorist/insurgent/opposition forces were killed and touting a victory for the 'coalition'. We groaned here.

For a few days the back-and-forth went on, with the Afghanistan information sources reporting civilians killed, U.S. 'intelligence' maintaining it had great news, there were more successes and only 'the enemy' had been butchered. It's happened so many times, we knew here that it was going to play out that our intelligence was on the level that has caused so many innocents to be detained and tortured all over the world. And that's how it went - the U.N. investigated, there were 90 civilians killed. We are destroying any credibility we ever might have had by our continual bungling.

"Investigations by UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men," U.N. Special Envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide said in a statement."

The U.S. military has launched an investigation into the incident, after saying it was unaware of any civilians killed in what it said was a single air strike in the Shindand district of western Afghanistan on Friday.

Jets had targeted a known Taliban commander and killed 30 militants, the U.S.-led coalition said.

UNAMA sent its human rights team to the Shindand area to investigate, meeting local officials, elders and villagers.

Afghan and foreign soldiers entered the village of Nawabad in Shindand district around midnight on August 21. Operations lasted several hours and air strikes were called in, the villagers told UNAMA.

"The destruction from aerial bombardment was clearly evident with some 7-8 houses having been totally destroyed and serious damage to many others. Local residents were able to confirm the number of casualties, including names, age and gender of the victims," the U.N. statement said.

"This is matter of grave concern to the United Nations, I have repeatedly made clear that the safety and welfare of civilians must be considered above all else during the planning and conduct of all military operations," Eide said.

"The impact of such operations undermines the trust and confidence of the Afghan people in efforts to build a just, peaceful, and law-abiding state."

The dead have been more than what our military likes to call 'collateral damage'. They leave behind bitter, alienated friends and family, and a country that wants us to leave. Our operations are so badly conducted, they are proof in and of themselves that we should not be involved where we are knocking off the innocent and enabling our opponents more every time we commit these atrocities.

We are ignorant and blind, and should have laid groundwork before any of our offensive moves. Having proved over and over again that our intelligence is dysfunctional, we need to give over the militarism and let our allies conduct their own affairs. Do we have any allies left? or have we called in air strikes on them as well?

The ignorance the occupied White House has unleashed on the world will be our shame for some time to come.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very curious what you two think about the Democratic convention.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Funny you should ask. See my comment at 11 CT today, (27th).

11:41 PM  

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