Tuesday, 21 July 2009
The US report claims that two thirds of the 80 casualties were “Taliban extremists”. Yet the documentary evidence lists names and dates of birth of those killed. 93 of the fatalities were children.
It is absurd to describe these people as “similarly sized adults”. And “moving rapidly across difficult terrain” is a strange formulation, as the people were using the same track through the village they used every day.
More disturbing than the report itself is what it omits to say. Nowhere do the authors question the wisdom of dropping devastating 2,000 pound bombs on a civilian area.
Full story here
Thursday, 16 July 2009
From NYT 16 July.
Nine wounded villagers, including two women and four children, reached a Kandahar hospital on Thursday. Several were unconscious, but others described helicopters firing into their compound at 11 p.m. as they fled the house and tried to hide in an orchard.
The United States military said it was 'investigating' the reports of civilian casualties, and the governor of Kandahar Province also dispatched a delegation to the village to investigate.
The report comes just two weeks after the American commander of NATO and United States forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, issued new orders to try to reduce civilian casualties in an effort to win back the support of the Afghan people.
Over the last few years, NATO and United States operations have killed and wounded thousands of Afghans. This has contributed to a growing opposition among the public toward the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan and the government of President Hamid Karzai.
McChrystal has called for all forces to make a “cultural shift” in their approach to the insurgency in Afghanistan and focus on respecting and protecting the local population. Forces under fire and in danger have the right to defend themselves, Colonel Julian said, but “in general, if we are not certain there are no civilians in a compound we would not target the compound.”
The last bit would be laughable in a different context. Separate Link to story here
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Gordon 'Gunner' Brown has been awarding pass marks to the British war effort in the Afghanistan debacle. He told the British Services Broadcasting Radio today that the UK was tackling 'terrorist networks'(he repeated it several times} in Afghanistan. Sounds a bit like the old 'War on Terror' mantra which even Bush and Blair apologised for and abandoned a few years ago. The securocrat spin men have been talking to him alright but you would think he would see through it. There is no area of political, or any, activity where Brown is not out of touch it seems.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Saturday, 4 July 2009
Amnesty — which first accused Israel of war crimes shortly after the fighting ended on Jan. 18 — said "disturbing questions" remain about why high-precision weapons like tank shells and air-delivered bombs and missiles "killed so many children and other civilians."
The group deplored Israel's use of less-precise artillery shells and highly incendiary white phosphorous in built-up areas. It also accused Israeli forces of using Palestinians as "human shields" and frequently blocking civilians from receiving medical care and humanitarian aid.
The pattern of Israeli attacks and the high number of civilian casualties "showed elements of reckless conduct, disregard for civilian lives and property and a consistent failure to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects," Amnesty International charged.
More than 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 900 civilians, were killed during the three-week offensive, according to Gaza health officials and human rights groups. Israel, which launched the war to halt years of rocket and mortar attacks on its southern communities, puts the death toll closer to 1,100. It says the vast majority of the dead were militants, though it has refused requests to provide a list of the dead.