Within the space of 24 hours, we have learned that 90 percent of Obama's drone victims have been innocent civilians; that the USA will wage war in Afghanistan through 2017 (aka forever); and that the military attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital was at least an "accidentally on purpose" gross violation of the Geneva Conventions if not an outright act of mass murder. Officials at high levels knew they were bombing a hospital.
Maybe I've missed it, but I haven't noticed anyone running for president stand up and deplore any of these atrocities. There are no candidates running on a pacifist plank from either major corporate party. That is because there is no major anti-war movement in this country, and there hasn't been for a long time. To be more specific, there has been no mass outrage since President Peace Prize Obama took office in 2009. And that has got to change, if we have any hope of reining in the runaway Military-Industrial Complex, and the president and the Congress it controls.
Don't vote for anybody unless she or he condemns the wars and the death and the destruction. A mere promise to cut back or end them soon won't fly. (And that goes for you, too, Bernie Sanders!)
Just as Obama was announcing that the Afghan War will continue in all its fury until morale improves, The Intercept revealed that another contractor with a conscience leaked documents which outline precisely how our government ascertains which Muslims to kill. Far from being the "surgical strikes" that Obama boasts about, these racist killings by remote control are rarely if ever limited to alleged "militants" or suspected terrorists. As far as their alleged therapeutic value is concerned, drones are no better than cruise missiles aimed at a civilian population from hundreds of miles away, or any more delicate than a cluster bomb ripping human bodies to shreds for miles around. You can read the whole report here.
And only hours after Obama announced the retention of 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, the AP dropped its own bombshell, revealing that audio exists of the warplane pilots questioning the legality of what they were doing even as they incinerated patients trapped in their beds during the 90-minute attack. American special ops had identified the hospital as a hospital before the order went down to obliterate it. American spies suspected that a Pakistani Taliban spy might have been holed up within. Even if that were true, it is no justification for destroying a medical facility.
From the AP report:
Doctors without Borders has condemned the bombing as a war crime. The organization says the strike killed 12 hospital staff and 10 patients, and that death toll may rise. It insists that no gunmen, weapons or ammunition were in the building. The U.S. and Afghan governments have launched three separate investigations. President Barack Obama has apologized, but Doctors without Borders is calling for an international probe.In order for this investigation to proceed, the commission would have to obtain permission from Obama and Afghan President Ghani, who are both allegedly conducting their own probes of their own agencies. Permission is therefore not expected to be forthcoming.
Doctors without Borders officials say the U.S. airplane made five separate strafing runs over an hour, directing heavy fire on the main hospital building, which contained the emergency room and intensive care unit. Surrounding buildings were not struck, they said.
Typically, pilots flying air support missions would have maps showing protected sites such as hospitals and mosques. If commanders concluded that enemies were operating from a protected site, they would follow procedures designed to minimize civilian casualties. That would generally mean surrounding a building with troops, not blowing it to bits from the air.
What the new details suggest "is that the hospital was intentionally targeted, killing at least 22 patients and MSF staff," said Meinie Nicolai, president of the operational directorate of Doctors without Borders, which is also known by its French initials MSF. "This would amount to a premeditated massacre. ... Reports like this underscore how critical it is for the Obama administration to immediately give consent to an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to find out how and why U.S. forces attacked our hospital."
We are anxiously waiting for our presidential candidates and congress critters to step up to the plate and go to bat for the 22 innocent victims of the hospital bombings. However, since they have never gone to bat for the millions of other victims of United States aggression, we probably wait in vain. Unless, that is, enough of us make certain political lives uncomfortable and their seats precarious.
To help make them suitably uncomfortable, MSF is circulating a Change.Org petition demanding that Obama agree to a separate investigation:
"Survivors have recounted it as a horrifying experience. Beyond that, attacking a protected site such as a hospital is a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions. The precise GPS coordinates of the four-year-old MSF hospital in Kunduz were provided to U.S. and Afghan authorities in Washington and Kabul in the days prior to the bombing, and the hospital contained nearly 200 patients and staff at the time of the attack.Earlier this week, the Obama administration also dropped a program to train "reasonable" Syrian terrorists in order to oust the democratically elected president. They have opted instead to just blindly airdrop weapons in hopes that the moderate militants will find them and use them to kill the immoderate militants. We are assured by the administration that the unknown people getting hold of these weapons have been swiftly and properly vetted by the same class of spooks which determined that the Kunduz charity hospital was a hotbed of terror, and that ISIS was a J.V. basketball team. Meanwhile, the administration announced that the limited number of Syrian refugees our exceptional country is willing to take in have to wait at least two years to be properly vetted, lest they include incipient Muslim child terrorists. The tacit message being sent to the victims of United States aggression by the United States Pathocracy: Don't even bother to apply. You are not wanted here.
Investigations have been launched by the U.S., NATO, and the Afghan government, but it is impossible to expect the parties involved in the conflict to carry out independent and impartial investigations of acts in which they themselves are implicated.
It was for that reason, and in the name of our killed and wounded colleagues and patients—and for all of our staff and patients worldwide—that MSF called for an independent international investigation into the events of October 3 by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC), the only permanent body set up specifically to investigate violations of international humanitarian law."
As the late Edward Said wrote in Covering Islam, Islamophobia has gained an undeserved political correctness thanks to decades of slanted news coverage and portrayals of Muslims as terrorists in Hollywood-produced entertainment. "Malicious generalizations about Islam have become the last acceptable form of denigration of foreign culture in the West," he rightly observed, adding later in his book:
"To a basically indifferent and already poorly informed American clientele, the Islamic threat is made to seem disproportionately fearsome, lending support to the thesis that there is a worldwide conspiracy behind every explosion. Islamophobia is the new anti-Semitism."