Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Protesting American Terrorism

From the point of view of the generals, the bombing of a Kunduz, Afghanistan charity hospital in October was a tragedy and the result of a series of unfortunate events and botched communications. Mistakes were made, leaves of absence were ordered. No outside investigation was deemed necessary, and no criminal charges are pending.

From the point of view of the people victimized by that attack, the destruction of the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital was an act of pure terror and aggression. 

Not satisfied with the attempted whitewashing by the Obama administration and Pentagon of the murders of at least 30 people, representatives of MSF (Doctors Without Borders) planned to demonstrate in front of the White House today before delivering a petition, signed by more than half a million people, demanding accountability for the atrocity. Protesters gathering in Lafayette Park were to be given white lab coats to display solidarity with the medical personnel killed and maimed in the military attack, an apparent clear-cut violation of the Geneva Convention ban on targeting hospitals in war zones.

While the mainstream media are busy fomenting the domestic fear over ISIS, and The Donald Trump Experience is sucking up all the oxygen in the echo chamber, and people are scrambling to Tweet out their condemnations of "his" Islamophobia, the Muslims killed in the hospital terror attack have been all but ignored. Since there was no photo gallery of the victims of that particular massacre gracing the front pages of American newspapers or profiles of them aired by cable outlets, MSF has provided its own, honoring the 14 doctors and nurses and support staff who lost their lives:

  Zabiullah, 29 years old and married (bottom row) was a poet as well as a security guard at the hospital.  At the time of his horrific death, he'd been working on Pashto language translations of several books. He was also writing a book about the famous Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan. "While he started working with MSF less than a year ago", says MSF, "he had already made lots of friends due to his friendly and kind manner". Here is one of his poems:

                                     تیر به شی وختونه خو یادونه به یی وی                                    
                                                                                    جور به شی زخمونه خو داغونه به یی وی

Time will fly, but its memory will remain,
Wounds will heal, but its stain will remain.
You can read the other bios by clicking the link above. And here's a tribute by MSF President Dr. Joanne Liu:

According to MSF's own internal report of what was essentially a terroristic attack by the US Military, patients were burned alive in their beds and fleeing medical personnel were decapitated or lost limbs after being deliberately targeted by the American gunship pilots. Besides the medics, 10 patients and seven other victims burned beyond recognition are among the dead.

President Obama apologized. President Obama sent his thoughts and prayers. President Obama ordered the military to investigate itself. President Obama is probably ever so grateful that despised fascist clown Donald Trump is obligingly deflecting all the media attention and cameras away from today's demonstration. You'd think that Trump and his aggrieved supporters were the only ones scapegoating Muslims all of a sudden. He is simply boiling up the xenophobia that's been simmering for decades, or really ever since the Pilgrims landed and started their own extermination crusade against "The Other". Trump is like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, only the latest monstrous byproduct of a radioactive swamp. He's a media sensation, thrilling horror fans everywhere, enabling the Lesser Evilists to wag their fingers at the scapegoated scapegoater with all the supercilious sanctimony they can muster.

Candidates are sending out nonstop email blasts urging us to show solidarity with Muslims by sending them (the candidates, not Muslims) our money. Hillary "We Came, We Saw, He Died" Clinton, who voted for the Iraq war that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims and was later responsible for the bombing of Libya that helped create the horrific Muslim refugee crisis, is no exception:


  Meanwhile, a monstrously vague synopsis of the military's perverted self-probing exercise, released on Thanksgiving Eve to little fanfare, was about what you'd expect: a box office dud with horrible acting and an inane script. From the New York Times:

Calling the airstrike a “tragic mistake,” General (John) Campbell read a statement announcing the findings of the investigation, which he said concluded that “avoidable human error” was to blame, compounded by technical, mechanical and procedural failures. He said another contributing factor was that the Special Forces members in Kunduz had been fighting continuously for days and were fatigued.
 General Campbell and his staff did not say how many people were being disciplined, or how. But a senior United States military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said one of those punished was the Army Special Forces commander on the ground in Kunduz during the fighting. The official would not identify the commander by name but said the officer, a captain, was relieved of his command in Afghanistan on Wednesday morning.


The general confirmed that Médecins Sans Frontières, the French name of Doctors Without Borders, had succeeded in reaching the Special Forces commander to inform him of the attack about 12 minutes into the airstrike, at 2:20 a.m. But he said the strike was not called off until 2:37 a.m. — after the aircrew had already stopped firing. But that timeline does not agree with accounts by the aid group and other witnesses, who said the strike went on for more than an hour.

The aid group, which has called for an independent, nonmilitary international inquiry into the airstrike, was sharply critical of General Campbell’s remarks. “The U.S. version of events presented today leaves M.S.F. with more questions than answers,” said Christopher Stokes, the organization’s general director. “The frightening catalog of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of U.S. forces and violations of the rules of war.”


In his account of the investigation report, which is said to be 3,000 pages long but has not been publicly released, General Campbell said that the targeting system on the AC-130 gunship that carried out the airstrike pointed to what proved to be an empty field. Realizing that was not correct, the crew on the gunship decided to target the Doctors Without Borders hospital as the building nearest to the coordinates that matched the description of the intended target.
“The investigation found that the actions of the aircrew and the Special Operations commander were not appropriate to the threats that they faced,” General (Wilson) Shoffner said. “We did not intentionally strike the hospital, and we’re absolutely heartbroken over what happened.”
Heartbroken, but not morally or criminally accountable. The folks were tired or confused when they deliberately shot at medical personnel in white coats,  and obliterated a building readily identifiable by its logo and a red cross on its roof.

 I guess that's what they mean when they tout American Exceptionalism.


Pearl said...

Karen: Please send this important column to Truthout or any other website that publishes progressive articles. The information is vital to be seen and read by many people who are not familiar with Sardonicky or your specific columns.
It involves more than the destruction of the people working with
Doctors without borders by exposing the misdirected power and and crass stupidity of our military in creating such destruction of the MSF hospital among other equally horrifying acts in invaded countries.
This is a criminal act that should demand real investigation and punishment and your column is a top expose of the facts that must be more widely read.
It might help create a response from our Democratic runners for the Presidency.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Time will fly, but its memory
will remain

Wounds will heal, but its stain
will remain

Lies veil the deed, but its disgrace
will remain

The Black Swan said...

Mistakes were made.

I wish I could use this line whenever I get a parking ticket, or I'm late paying a bill, or I forget something important.

This just shows that either the US military is evil beyond belief, or incompetent beyond belief. Or both. And non of that is reassuring.

And I'm usually not one to jump on the conspiracy theory train, but has anyone else seen this clip from CBS Evening News?

Wherein a witness at San Bernadino reports 3 tall white men being the shooters.

And once again all the suspects are conveniently killed so there can be no trial. No interviews. And the FBI can build a profile in whichever manner they choose, and the MSM nods their heads in agreement. This gets back to the evil or incompetent question.

annenigma said...

Yes, mistakes were made. I've already expressed myself earlier on this blog about how I believed this was an intentional act and why, so I won't go into it all again, but I will say that the military hates LOSING, especially the same city over and over.

Another excuse that takes no responsibility is "I take full responsibility". 'Full' as in full of crap. There is never any resignation accompanying that mea culpa, if that's what it's supposed to be. No cost, no loss of power or privilege, no nothing. I want to scream whenever I hear someone say that. Rahm Emmanuel is the latest that I recall, but there was Hillary recently too. The only one I can't recall saying it is Obama, not that it would mean anything coming from him either.

I watched the news all afternoon of the San Bernardino massacre and for hours on end they keep talking about 3 gunmen and I wondered what happened to the third, speculating on this blog that it was probably an FBI undercover sting gone bad and he made a run for it when it blew up in his face. Thanks for sharing that youtube video.

Of course I also remember hours of talk about gunshots coming from the grassy knoll way back when. I even sketched out while sitting at my classroom desk the image I had of that man lying in the grass and firing a rifle as we listened to the news. I kept that sketch for years, and the memory of it to this day, feeling strange that my sketch was so far off the mark, so to speak. Hey, when I hear something repeated over and over, I can't help but remember it. However, I take FULL responsibility for my 'mis-remembering', another cop-out.

Call me cynical, but I don't believe anything that could involve the government, covertly or overtly. We've got war criminals and terrorist torturers still on the payroll, collecting their pensions, one even being honored last week with a statue in the halls of Congress.

annenigma said...

OMG! The terrorists are planning to expand their territory!!!

'Pentagon Seeks String of Overseas Bases to Control ISIS'

My NYT comment:

We sure could use the wisdom of a Nobel Peace Prize winner right now. Malala, where are you? Oh wait. She already warned our Peace Prize President that his drone warfare was creating more terrorists, but he didn't listen.

Since Obama only seems to heed the advice of the military, perhaps he will review the words of some famous former Generals? We can only Hope for Change at this point.

Eisenhower - "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms in not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children/It is humanity hanging on a cross of iron"

Or General Smedley Butler - "War is a racket"

Pearl said...

Bank of Canada’s Stephen Poloz tells Trudeau government to spend: Walkom via @torontostar

Kat said...

Thanks for the link, Pearl. That is great that your central banker is making such pronouncements. Of course the Toronto Star could not resist adding "penalizing savers". I always love that line considering the same publications also write about consumers unwilling to open their pocketbooks as being detrimental to the economy. And lets not forget about how they write about it being a good sign when consumers take on more debt. Then they run personal finance advice columns that tell consumers they must cut back and live within their means. Well which one is it folks?
I like the fact that Sanders has a simple name for his infrastructure plan "Rebuild America and Jobs Act". Contrast this with Hillary's plan which is full of Obama style buzzwords and a big Obama style nothingburger. I made the decision to change my party affiliation so that I could vote for Sanders in the primary based on this issue. I still have many reservations -mostly related to his hawkishness, but also my desire for him to stop using the word socialist. A socialist does not talk about "rebuilding the American middle class" and does not support imperial adventures such as the one in the Balkans (the Greens weren't innocent there either. Check out Diane Johnstone's work.)