Friday, November 6, 2015

American Empire: Dripping With Blood and Disdain

When he testified to an overly friendly Senate committee last month about the American military attack on a charity hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, General John Campbell promised a full accounting of the "collateral carnage" by Halloween. His self-imposed deadline has come and gone. Everybody is shocked, shocked I tell you. Not.

Meanwhile, an independent report released Thursday by the actual victim of the attack, Médecins Sans Frontières, was also greeted with a group yawn by the complicit mass media. Revelations that doctors were decapitated or had their legs blown off by American air-gunners as they fled their burning hospital were buried beneath a very tiny headline on today's New York Times homepage, just below the apparently more important news that Ben Carson isn't trying to woo black voters, and that Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie didn't make the cut for the next Top Tier GOP debate show.

It could not be clearer that the elites of the political-media-military nexus want us to forget about this horrific war crime perpetrated in all our names. As MSF (translated as Doctors Without Borders) has learned to its chagrin as its requests for investigatory help from 76 separate sovereign nations have gone coldly unheeded, the tentacles of  Superpower encircle the globe in a literal stranglehold.

Meanwhile, we can read the medical charity's own report of the carnage inside the hospital right as it happened.

Especially chilling is the revelation that an unnamed US official  from Washington, D.C. called the medical staff the day before the attack and specifically demanded to know if Taliban fighters were "holed up" within the hospital before smarmily inquiring as to staff safety. The MSF responded that they were treating patients at full capacity, and yes, the patients included wounded Taliban members. This turned out to be the calm before the airstrike storm. There had been virtually no fighting in the area, as General Campbell had initially claimed.

"MSF staff recall that the first room to be hit was the ICU, where MSF staff were caring for a number of immobile patients, some of whom were on ventilators," according to the report. Two children were among the victims burned alive in their beds.

From the ICU ground zero, the Americans proceeded to methodically destroy the library, the emergency room, the laboratory, the mental health unit, the outpatient department, the physical therapy department and the operating suite. Doctors were killed as they performed surgery, as were two patients lying anesthetized on the tables. A nurse suffered a traumatic amputation, his arm hanging by a thread as he rushed, covered in blood, to an administration building to awaken and warn other sleeping staff members.

Witnesses reported that airplane gunners seemed to be directly pursuing the medical personnel and patients fleeing the carnage to seek safety in other buildings. The open-air victims of the prolonged attack included a patient in a wheelchair.

The total number of known dead has increased from 22 to 30: 13 patients, 10 staff, and seven so badly burned as to be unidentifiable. 

At the time of the attack, the hospital was well lit and easily identified by a large lettered flag on its rooftop, the report said.

Christopher Stokes, general director of MSF. told a news conference in Kabul:  "A mistake is quite hard to understand and believe at this stage.From what we are seeing now, this action is illegal in the laws of war. You cannot do this. You cannot bomb a hospital.”

He suspects that somebody, somewhere, decided to relieve the hospital of its protected status under the Geneva Conventions. That icy phone call from Washington right before the attack lends credence to that suspicion. The bombing of the hospital was neither collateral damage nor was it a passive-aggressive mistake that was made. It was pure, brutal, cold-blooded murder.

Unless the Obama administration indicts those responsible (the US has refused to be part of the International Criminal Court) his much-ballyhooed legacy will be even bloodier than it already is. The man is positively dripping with it, to complement the disdain for the rule of law and democracy that he and most other presidents have harbored with impunity.

Meanwhile, MSF president Joanne Liu is right: "The silence (of the whole world) is embarrassing."

American Exceptionalism


Jay–Ottawa said...

US Air Force: "Surgical strikes Я US."

Pearl said...

Great comments to Krugman's column on Austerity, Karen and Meredith. Do print it in our website for others to read.
Yes, Krugman still does not include Bernie Sanders' comments on this topic which you pointed out Meredith, although he took the time to praise Justin Trudeau's position on the issue.

voice-in-wilderness said...

Following the link for the International Criminal Court is a reminder of the magnitude of U.S. hypocrisy. The very reasons given (maintain our own laws and autonomy) are exactly what our leaders are eager to give up with the Pacific trade treaty.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen....your Times Pick comment to PK column was devastating, as is this post on the hospital destruction. It's unbearable. The term pathocrat should become common terminology. We have an incarceration nation as you say, and the ones on the outside are part of a sort of colonized nation, by the corporate powers.

Karen, though it departs from your important topic today, I want to get this in before time goes by.

After the last Gop debate, there’s an interesting and unusual Upshot column -- “Ted Cruz as Beowulf: Matching Candidates With the Books They Sound Like.” By JOSH KATZ OCT. 28. Both Gop & Dem.

It includes pics of each candidate’s face with matching examples of classic and modern literature and the article analyzes the candidates various speaking styles--- simple vs complex, negative vs positive. Quite interesting, agree or not.

Says---"To conduct the analysis, we used an index called the Simple Measure of Gobbledygook, or SMOG for short, developed by the psychologist G. Harry McLaughlin in the 1960s, and measured each candidate’s language in this year’s presidential debates."

But strangely, since Oct 28 there’s only 1 reader comment—mine! in all this time. I don't get it. This should have brought many interesting comments. I guess the Times isn’t placing the Upshot very prominently on its site? Be interested in anybody’s take on the piece, if you feel like it.

My comment--
Hendrik Hertzberg links to this Upshot in his New Yorker article, “That GOP Debate.” He has an interesting take on the remark by Cruz that the “Democratic debate reflected the debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks” --the main factions just before the 1917 Russian Communist Revolution.

Cruz was equating Sanders to the Bolsheviks ( !) and Hillary to the Mensheviks. But Hertzberg says that’s off kilter history.

Bolsheviks were the ultra radical ancestor of the Communist Dictatorship. The Mensheviks were Russian cousins of the later social democrats of Western Europe. Plus the ‘Kadets’, from the bourgeoisie.

Hertzberg describes the Bolsheviks as the extremists, strangers to reaching across the aisle, who split the party, scorned the moderates, despised the bourgeoisie. When they couldn’t get their way, they shut down the govt. They stockpiled guns, and were ideologically rigid fanatics who saw those who disagreed with them as enemies. Their leader was noted for his ‘steely determination to achieve power by unconventional, even disruptive, means.’

So Hertzberg ends with, “Step forward, People’s Commissar Cruz!”

Hillary may be the relatively liberal bourgeoisie faction---the Constitutional Democrats (kadets). The Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional govt that was trying for moderation.

Hillary’s not the American Menshevik. It’s Bernie Sanders, who, omg, uttered the word 'Denmark' in the debate, which Hillary then resoundingly rejected to the nation.

Meredith NYC said...

Let me add, I never even saw this Upshot in the Times, but only found it by accident, reading Andy Borowitz, and saw link to Hertzberg who cited the Upshot in his interesting post re Cruz and the Commies.

Meredith NYC said...

Pearl,'s my comment to Krugman. And I'm curious to know what you think of Justin Trudeau now. Btw, the 3 Dem candidates will be questioned by MSNBC in SC tonight at 8. Should be on line.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has a clear cut anti austerity, pro govt spending policy. Why no discussion of this since he seems to agree with what Krugman constantly advocates? Sanders wants to return to taxing and budget policies that actually expanded the middle class, and forced big business to contribute to society, rather than extracting from it.

We know all about the Gop obsessive budget cutters. Would Krugman care to discuss the various Democratic candidates’ attitudes toward budget cutting vs spending, and for what priorities? Since we are in the midst of a presidential campaign for 2016, this might be useful information for voters. And an interesting column for readers.

Bernie Sanders also proposes financial transaction taxes to alleviate our trillion dollar college tuition debt, the highest in the world. And he advocates health care for all citizens, not just for more citizens than previously insured, but leaving out millions of others. And for regulating US medical corporate prices, the highest in the world.

This would require a change from current tax burdens avoided by the rich, thus taken on by the middle class. What tax levels would Mr. Krugman advocate, for example that might help rebalance our economy so that the majority benefits?

Karen Garcia said...

My published NYT comment in response to Krugman's "I was vindicated on anti-austerity!" column which completely ignored the direct role of Obama in all the unnecessary pain:

While still enjoying a super-majority in Congress, Barack Obama stuffed his "Catfood Commission" with the multimillionaire deficit hawks who decided that "folks" just weren't suffering enough in the wake of the worst financial crisis in history. And when that worked out so well and the GOP retook the House, Obama admonished us to tighten our belts, while Nancy Pelosi sighed that "austerity is here to stay."

Nobody fought for the little guy. Few besides Bernie Sanders called for expansion of the New Deal. The "shocking" number of people we now know are literally killing themselves to escape their psychic, physical and financial pain were rendered invisible.

And while the elite policy-makers haven't been "vindicated," neither have they been punished. The pathocrats prescribing the pain to everyone but themselves have been richly rewarded, with 90% of the wealth regained going to the top 1%. By 2013, median household wealth had dropped by 40 percent. One in five children lives in poverty, and more than half of us don't have enough savings to pay for an emergency car repair.

From the attacks on public education, to the homelessness of one out of every 30 children, to stagnating wages and an ever-widening wealth gap, to the continuing offshoring of jobs in the corporate coups known as "trade" deals, to trillion-dollar wars on and of terror, our punishment continues unabated.

You don't need to live behind the steel bars of Incarceration Nation to figure this out.

Meredith NYC said...

my comment to NYT article on Bush I comments on Cheney influence on Bush 2.

What a coincidence. A. Chalabi just died, as the Meacham’s Bush book comes out--- the Iraq con artist who used and was used by Bush, Cheney, etc, who all ran the Iraq war con game, aided by a mostly believing media. Or a media that shrank from challenging the powers that be. Or a media identifying with the powerful for its own influence and prestige.

And now Bush's other son is trying to save his campaign.

The media has plenty to recap now on the whole Iraq situation. Should be a campaign issue. Let’s see how the media questions the candidates in the long string of debates ahead.

Also I saw clips of a documentary about the anti Iraq war protests in 2003, can’t recall the name----showed millions in cities across the world marching in the streets on the same day. Was the biggest mass protest across the globe in history.

Pearl said...

Meredith: the marching against the Vietnam war finally ended it. The reason the marching in cities against the Iraq war despite being the biggest mass protest across the globe and had no effect is because Americans supported that war at home not hearing the truth from the rest of the world. I don't remember reading much about that global Iraq protest in our media. And of course our beloved NYtimes was in the forefront of that war fever.

I am wondering how the get together yesterday of the democratic runners on MSNBC went as I don't get that station on my computer set up here. Mainly, how did Bernie do, I only read a report that he is sinking? Only in the south? Another report in Slate praised him but I couldn't access it as I am not a member. Thanks for any information.

Meredith NYC said...

Pearl, go to nyt/ politics---
Bernie Sanders Courts Black Voters at South Carolina Forum.

Pearl said...

Thanks Meredith: I wonder what you felt about that Forum.
And then there is this from that article.

“I feel very strongly that President Obama doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the great job he’s done,” she said to applause.

Now we know what a great job she will do for us as well.

falken751 said...

"It was Obama, after all, who talked so much about “transparency” and trusting the American people as a candidate and during his first days in office. But since then, he has conformed to the elitist Orwellian approach of managing our perceptions rather than giving us the facts.

Yet, if Obama could get his cooperation with Putin back on track – recognizing how useful it was in 2013 when Putin helped Obama get Assad to surrender all his chemical weapons and assisted in wresting important concessions from Iran about its nuclear program – then the two powers could also weigh in on securing a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, another major irritant to peace in the region.

Indeed, it appears that the possibility of Obama and Putin working together to force the Israelis to make meaningful concessions for peace was a factor in the neocon determination to turn an eminently manageable political dispute in Ukraine – over the pace of its integration into Europe without rending its ties to Russia – into the dangerous frontlines of a new Cold War.

The neocons and liberal hawks outmaneuvered Obama who fell in line with the Putin-bashing, all the better to fit within Official Washington’s in-crowd."'

Information Clearing House