The fruits of liberation November 25, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Iraq and Afghanistan, War, War on Terror.
Tags: afghnaistan war, al-Qaeda, civilian casuaties, drone missiles, glenn greenwald, liberals, predator missiles, roger hollander, Taliban, U.S. imperialism
add a comment
Roger’s note: I feel like I have posted a million articles on US atrocities against Afghani civilians, and like Glenn Greenwald, I ask myself what more is there to say? And like him, I cannot bring myself to, with a ho-hum attitude, ignore yet another mass murder of children in a land 10,000 miles away in a war that has nothing to do with human values and everything to do with crass economic geo-political interests and war profiteering; a war paid for by had earned US tax dollars. WE CONTINUE TO MURDER CHILDREN.
Friday, Nov 25, 2011 1:10 PM 14:05:34 EST, www.salon.com
The lives of six more Afghan children are extinguished with an air attack as the responsible nation yawns
Six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Thursday. . . .
Afghan officials claimed that the aircraft were chasing “insurgents” when they fired on the children, but the villagers and the children’s families — as usual — insist that is false:
The victims were members of two families.
Abdul Samad, an uncle of four of the children who were killed, disputed the government’s version of the attack. He said his relatives were working in fields near their village when they were attacked without warning by an aircraft.
His brother-in-law, Mohammad Rahim, 50, had his two sons and three daughters with him. They were between 4 and 12 years old and all were killed, except an 8-year-old daughter who was badly wounded, Mr. Samad said.
“There were no Taliban in the field; this is a baseless allegation that the Taliban were planting mines,” Mr. Samad said. “I have been to the scene and haven’t found a single bit of evidence of bombs or any other weapons. The Americans did a serious crime against innocent children, they will never ever be forgiven.”
I read about the death of these children yesterday and had decided not to write about it because I don’t have anything particularly new to say about it, but then all day, that decision irritated me because it just seems wrong to allow this go to unobserved (and in Southern Afghanistan, “NATO” in the vast majority of cases means: “American”). Whichever version is correct, the U.S. devastated these families forever and ended these children’s lives in a region where even U.S. officials say that there is a grand total of two Al Qeada officials and the group is “operationally ineffective.”
What’s particularly notable, I realized, is how we’re trained simply to accept these incidents as though they carry no meaning: we’re just supposed to chalk them up to regrettable accidents (oops), agree that they don’t compel a cessation to the war, and then get back to the glorious fighting. Every time that happens, this just becomes more normalized, less worthy of notice. It’s just like background noise: two families of children wiped out by an American missile (yawn: at least we don’t target them on purpose like those evil Terrorists: we just keep killing them year after year after year without meaning to). It’s acceptable to make arguments that American wars should end because they’re costing too much money or American lives or otherwise harming American strategic interests, but piles of corpses of innocent children are something only the shrill, shallow and unSerious point to as though they has any meaning in terms of what should be done.
This kind of thinking would, I suppose, be viable if these were very isolated incidents. But they’re not. All in the name of a single, one-day attack more than a decade ago, the U.S. has spent more than ten years slaughtering Muslim children in numerous countries in all sorts of different ways, and we continue to do it unabated — see here, here, here, and here as just illustrative examples. All this as The Washington Post demands regime change in Iran, national security reporters start casually calling for war in Syria the way most people ponder their lunch options, and it is reported today that the U.S. is escalating its drone attacks and other proxy war fighting in Somalia. At some point, doesn’t a country’s ongoing willingness year after year to extinguish the lives of innocent human beings in multiple countries, for no good reason, seriously mar the character of the country and the political leaders responsible for it, to say nothing of the way it inexorably degrades the political culture of the nation, and the minds of the citizens, which acquiesce to it? That should be nothing more than a rhetorical question. The gap between how many Americans perceive of their nation’s role in the world and the reality is indescribably wide.
* * * * *
Two questions which this episode raises: (1) why do they hate us?; and (2) why don’t those ridiculous, silly, unreasonable liberals — you know the dreary type: those “in their fifties with a ponytail” – swoon for President Obama the way career New Republic writers do? This is a towering, baffling mystery because there is simply nothing rational that can explain it.
Glenn Greenwald (email: GGreenwald@salon.com) is a former Constitutional and civil rights litigator and is the author of two New York Times Bestselling books on the Bush administration’s executive power and foreign policy abuses. His just-released book, With Liberty and Justice for Some, is an indictment of America’s two-tiered system of justice, which vests political and financial elites with immunity even for egregious crimes while subjecting ordinary Americans to the world’s largest and most merciless penal state. Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and is the winner of the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive detention of Bradley Manning.
(Photo credit: Don Usner)
Tags: al-Qaeda, civilian casuaties, dean nelson, drone, drone missiles, extra-judicial killing, obama administration, pakistan, pakistan war, predator, roger hollander, Taliban, war, war on terror
One in three “militants” killed in US Predator Drone attacks in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas is in fact a civilian, according to a report by an American think tank.
by Dean Nelson
The report, by the Washington-based New America Foundation, will fuel growing criticism of the use of unmanned drones in the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, who use Pakistan as a base for attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Critics say their use not only takes innocent lives, but amounts to unlawful extra-judicial killing of militants.
The report by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann found that 32 per cent of those killed in drone attacks since 2004 were civilians.
Their report, The Year of the Drone, studied 114 drone raids in which more than 1200 people were killed. Of those, between 549 and 849 were reliably reported to be militant fighters, while the rest were civilians.
“The true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 32 per cent,” the foundation reported.
The number of drone attacks has increased dramatically since Barack Obama replaced George W Bush as US president early last year.
There were 45 drone attacks during Mr Bush’s two terms of government, compared with 51 during the first year of Mr Obama’s new administration. In the first two months of this year, up to 140 “militants” have been killed.
Despite the controversy surrounding the scale of civilian deaths, and public opposition from Pakistan’s government, the Obama administration has increased its reliance on drones to target “high-value” Taliban and al-Qaeda figures.
Since last autumn, they have killed the Taliban’s notorious leader Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan, and more recently, it is claimed, his successor Hakimullah Mehsud.
In 2008, Pakistani intelligence sources said they had killed Rashid Rauf, the British al-Qaeda militant behind the 2006 transatlantic airliner bomb plot.
Osama bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al Zawahiri is believed to had a lucky escape when a drone struck a compound he had recently left.
Taliban leaders this week confirmed another of their top leaders Mohammed Qari Zafar had been killed in north Waziristan.
He was believed to have organised the 2006 bombing of the American embassy in Karachi.
The report said although civilian casualty figures are high, they did not believe their study would cause American commanders to reconsider their use.
“Despite the controversy drone strikes are likely to remain a critical tool for the United States to disrupt Al Qaeda and Taliban operations and leadership structures,” it concluded.
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010