And the killing of innocents continues


Shocking news has emerged about the US bombing a hospital in Afghanistan even though the hospital in Kunduz run by Doctors Without Borders had previously notified the US of its GPS coordinates.

A US airstrike that killed up to 20 aid workers and patients in a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan constitutes a “grave violation of international law”, the charity’s president has said.

The bombardment, which occurred early on Saturday morning, went on for more than 30 minutes despite the charity raising the alarm with US and Afghan officials, and destroyed much of the compound in Kunduz.

The hospital had treated hundreds of people injured after the northern city fell to a dramatic Taliban attack last week, and when government troops launched an assault to reclaim it. Beds and corridors were still crammed with patients and their relatives when it was hit in the early hours of Saturday morning.

On Saturday evening, the dead included at least 12 members of staff and seven patients – three of whom where children. An MSF source told the Guardian the death toll could rise further.

This follows the killing of over 100 people attending a Yemeni wedding as a result of bombings by Saudi Arabia as part of a US–led coalition.

US hypocrisy was on full display in the form of the odious Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN, who was quick to express outrage at the reports of Russian killings of civilians in Syria but was much more muted about the Yemeni deaths and so far has been silent on the US bombing.

Yesterday afternoon, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power marched to Twitter to proclaim: “we call on Russia to immediately cease attacks on Syrian opposition and] civilians.” Along with that decree, she posted a statement from the U.S. and several of its closest authoritarian allies – including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UK – warning Russia that civilian casualties “will only fuel more extremism and radicalization.”

This strike on a hospital in Afghanistan comes days after the Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen that killed more than 130 people. After days of silence from the U.S. Government – which has actively participated from the start in the heinous bombing of Yemen – Ambassador Power finally acknowledged the wedding massacre, but treated it like some natural disaster that has nothing to do with the U.S.: “Terrible news from Yemen of killing of innocent civilians & aid workers. Urgently need pol solution to crisis,” she tweeted.

Her accompanying statement claimed that “the United States has no role in the targeting decisions made by the Coalition in Yemen,” but yesterday, the Saudi Foreign Minister told CBS News that “We work with our allies including the United States on these targets.” There’s no dispute that the U.S. has lavished the Saudis with all sorts of weapons and intelligence as it carries out its civilian-massacring attacks on Yemen.

President Obama, who just yesterday waxed eloquently about the way we do nothing about avoidable killings in the US, will likely just except express regret and do nothing about the avoidable deaths that he is causing, just like the NRA does when there are mass killings in the US. And the media will allow him to get away with this double standard. As Glenn Greenwald says:

It’s impossible to fathom what the U.S. media would be saying and doing if Russia did something like this in Syria. By contrast, the reaction to this airstrike by their own government will be muted and filled with apologia, ironically quite similar to the widely vilified caricature of Jeb Bush’s comments about the Oregon shooting spree: “stuff happens.”

Because we (and our friends) are always, always the good guys, never mind what we do.

Comments

  1. says

    Kunduz is less than 200 kilometres south of the Bokhtar PSC area in Tajikistan. Bokhtar contains large natural gas deposits, but the Tajikistan government has oil and gas deals with China, not the US. Oil pipelines to China are being built and gas lines from Bokhtar are being proposed.

    If the US’s intentional bombing of the MSF hospital was to force or eradicate civilians from the area (a future invasion and building pipelines across Afghanistan), it’s not the first time. The four most heavily bombed civilian areas in Afghanistan are Kabul, Kunduz, Kandahar and Herat. The latter two are both on the proposed route of the trans-Afghanistan pipeline.

    http://cursor.org/stories/appendix5.htm

    http://www.ogj.com/content/dam/ogj/print-articles/Volume%20111/may-6/z130506OGJxco03.jpg

    “OGJ” is the Oil and Gas Journal, a weekly publication of the oil and gas industry.

  2. Holms says

    Because we (and our friends) are always, always the good guys, never mind what we do.

    And this is precisely the attitude that leads to a reduction in standards of conduct on both sides of any conflict, until the tactics in use become scarcely distinguishable. The ‘good’ team is simply the one that declares themselves so, and then goes on to win.

  3. Lesbian Catnip says

    They bombed Doctors Without Borders? I wish hell existed because there is no punishment severe enough for this

  4. StevoR says

    Awful news.

    Tragic incident and I’m sure that the US wouldn’t have targeted the Kunduz MSF hospital deliberately and will be doing a full investigation into how this happened. Not that intent is magic (But it does matter still) and not that it’ll be much consolation to the victims here I know.

  5. Mano Singham says

    StevoR @#4,

    ‘Full investigation’? You have got to be kidding. After the US has been bombing the hell out of Afghanistan for over a decade and killed thousands of innocent people, you think Obama gives a damn about another 20 or so more? Afghans are not real people like the American students murdered last week in Oregon so who cares if the US government murders them? The only problem for the US is the bad publicity because they hit an MSF hospital and MSF has access to the world’s media.

    We know exactly how this will play out based on past experience. Obama will have some kind of phony internal investigation that will issue a tepid report that states that ‘mistakes were made and steps have been taken to prevent its recurrence’ and the media will drop the story and everyone will quickly forget about this.

    If Russia had one something similar in Syria, Samantha Power would have been immediately calling for a UN Security Council resolution condemning it and demanding an international human rights investigation, like the one MSF is demanding right now for what it calls a war crime. But now she has gone quiet.

    And the media will allow these criminals to get away with it.

  6. StevoR says

    @ ^ Mano Singham : “.. you think Obama gives a damn about another 20 or so more..”

    Call me naive if you like and I don’t really know but I do think Obama cares about innocent lives. It may not always be manifest, may not always end intangible results even sadly but I do think he’s a good person and does give a damn.

    I think the same is true of Hillary Clinton and many in the US military including those responsible too. I guess I can’t really prove that but I’d be amazed if it wasn’t true. They are people too – as, of course, are the victims of this Kunduz hospital massacre.

    I don’t know whether the media (especially social media) will allow these “criminals” (emotive & arguable word choice) to get away with it either. I hope not, I hope we do get an investigation and the truth about what the hell happened here comes out. We’ll see soon enough I ‘spose.

  7. StevoR says

    ^ ” .. in tangible .. ” that is. ” .. It may not always be manifest, may not always end in tangible results even sadly but I do think he’s a good person ..” Sigh.

    Where does space get to? Its supposed to be expanding not contracting dangnabbit!

    Also of course a lot of people do care and clearly you and most of the commenters here are among them.

  8. Mano Singham says

    What good is ‘caring’ in some emotional sense if you carry out actions that result in their deaths? I am sure that the NRA leadership ‘cares’ about the deaths of innocent people by gun fanatics in the US but they don’t do a damn thing to prevent it.

    Obama will go through the motions of offering his ‘thoughts and prayers’ to show that he cares. That’s what they all do, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and all the others who have created one hell-hole after another in that part of the world. That is part of the self-absolution ritual.

    Do you excuse all of them too because they ‘care’?

  9. says

    @7 StevoR: I do think Obama cares about innocent lives.

    This may be true, but the problem often tends to be to label certain people as not being innocent. I’m going to go Godwin here and point out that the Nazis demonized Jews. Why? Probably so that there would be less resistance to killing them because there are probably a lot of people who would have cared about innocent lives, but not nearly so many willing to care about non-innocent lives.

  10. Saad says

    StevoR, #7

    I don’t know whether the media (especially social media) will allow these “criminals” (emotive & arguable word choice) to get away with it either.

    You’re doing it right there. That’s what we’re talking about. Right there.

    There’s gotta be something else! White rich politicians causing the deaths of brown people with funny names in hospitals can’t possibly be (at best) negligent homicide. Them doing it repeatedly over decades must be collateral damage. It just must be.

    You posted that article link yourself that says it continued for 30 minutes after being informed a hospital was hit. The same link also says that six patients laid in their beds burning to death.

  11. Dunc says

    Call me naive if you like

    OK, I’ll take that… You’re naive. Incredibly, unbelievably naive. You know how the US is always boasting about the incredible, pint-point accuracy of their weapons? And how they had the precise GPS co-ordinates of the hospital? They kept bombing the hospital for half an hour after being told they were bombing a hospital because they knew perfectly well that they were bombing a hospital. They were doing it entirely on purpose.

    The US is not a white-hatted Saturday morning matinee hero. The US is a global empire ruthlessly dedicated to advancing its geopolitical interests by any means necessary. Sometimes, that means bombing hospitals. Other times, it means flattening entire cities, or arming viciously repressive totalitarian theocracies, or training sectarian death squads to torture people to death with power tools. They’ve been doing this sort of stuff for decades.

  12. StevoR says

    @ ^ Saad : I did read that article before I linked it y’know.

    I hope its wrong about them knowing and being told that they were hitting the hospital not a military target.

    I find it very hard to believe that the US military would deliberately attack and keep attacking a hospital (or any innocent target) knowing what it was because, yeah, that would be a war crime, unethical (& yes they are people w emotions too) and, moreover, from a purely practical standpoint they have nothing to gain from doing so and are only “wasting ammunition” that could be better targeted at real enemies.

    It could be “negligent homicide” true -it could be outright evil murder. Or it could be a failure of communication of understanding and a tragic accident occurring in the “fog of war” just like so many friendly fire” incidents in history . I don’t know. What do you think is most likely?

    Do you assume the US military is racist and evil without saying knowing anyone who is part of it? (FWIW One of my friends is in the Aussie SAS.)

    Its also not like the terrorists have a history of using civilians even hospitals as “human shields” and firing from nearby or inside such buildings sadly – & yeah I know that’s a very unpopular reality here but it has been documented in places like Gaza and the Taliban aren’t exactly honourable, uniformed opponents.

    I hope we find out the truth. It may not be as simple and black and white as you seem to think. I really don’t know yet and neither really do any of us. Except maybe – and only maybe – those directly involved.

    The latest via BBC world news :

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34440965

    is that an investigation is occurring.

    The US is investigating the incident. ..(snip) .. US President Barack Obama has expressed his condolences and said he would await the conclusions of an inquiry before making a definitive judgement.

    @9. Mano Singham :

    “What good is ‘caring’ in some emotional sense if you carry out actions that result in their deaths?

    Perhaps not much. Would you rather they didn’t? Hopefully they will (do) care enough to be accountable and take steps to prevent it recurring if they can. make reparations as best they care. Yeah it may not be sufficient but what else can they do? Realistically.

    Obama will go through the motions of offering his ‘thoughts and prayers’ to show that he cares. That’s what they all do, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and all the others who have created one hell-hole after another in that part of the world. That is part of the self-absolution ritual. Do you excuse all of them too because they ‘care’?

    In fairness, it wasn’t just their actions that made those places hell holes but also their enemies. No, I don’t excuse them – not necessarily. I also don’t think Cheney for one cares. he does come across like an absolute heartless sociopath. Not that its in my power to do anything to him or any of the others beyond hoping justice and “karma” prevails.

    @10. Leo Buzalsky : I don’t there’s any question here that the MSF doctors, nurses and their patients were innocent. I’m not demonising them and don’t see anyone who is. They were people and did not deserve what happened to them. I hope they have justice done for them and the truth is found and those who did wrong here face the consequences of that.

  13. StevoR says

    @ 12. Dunc : So .. you’re not waiting for the results of the investigation or hearing any more from possibly more reliable firsthand sources then I take it? Just jump to conclusions based on what you’ve read in the media and a blog or two eh?

  14. Dunc says

    Hmmm, who do I trust more – MSF, or the US military and the Afghan government? Wow, that’s a tough one…

    Yeah, I’m sure there will be an “investigation”. I expect they’re ordering up a few container-loads of whitewash right now.

  15. StevoR says

    @ ^ Dunc : Guess when that investigation actually comes out you’ll be looking at it and the actual evidence it presents for yourself and not just going on “trust” then – or not?

  16. StevoR says

    FWIW. Yes I trust MSF too. Doesn’t mean they can’t be mistaken or are infallible.

    Early media reports aren’t always relibable and there’s clearly been some massive stuff up here or it wouldn’t have happened.

    If you say otherwise, well you are going to need a plausible motive of why the US military would do that. Because none seems apparent to me – its a loss loss and no possible gain for them isn’t it?

  17. Dunc says

    Gee, what possible reason could there be for a military power to want to get well-respected NGOs out of an area they’re conducting combat operation in?

    Ask yourself this: if it were Russia doing this in the Ukraine, or the Assad regime doing this in Syria, or the Saudis doing it in Yemen, what plausible motive might occur to you? Would it possibly occur to you that they might want to be able to do unpleasant things to the locals without any credible witnesses in the area? Or perhaps that restricting people’s access to medical care is a very effective means of controlling them?

    There is history here: they also have a remarkable track record of “accidentally” bombing the offices of uncooperative media organisations and shooting independent journalists. Not to mention blowing up the concessional Chinese embassy…

  18. StevoR says

    Meanwhile there’s a wider context here in which we have the flippin’ Taliban back in Kunduz taking over an Afghan state capital and what do y’all think that means for all its people?

    The US (& Western allies like our Aussie troops) of course are damned if they do, damned if they don’t whatever they do – or don’t do – and the locals are, well, lets be frank ..pretty durn useless at defending their own flippin’ country. Sad but objectively true fact. Despite all their arming and training over the years by the West.

    So, answers? Suggestions? Best courses of action?

    I don’t know. What we are doing now certainly doesn’t seem to be working.

  19. StevoR says

    @ Dunc : Nice Conspiracy Theory dude! Tell me again about all those shadows on the Apollo images and was that Reptilians moon base with or without zombie space nazis attacking us with chemtrails and crop circles again?

    / Does this need a sarc tag? Yeah, guess here it does.

    No I don’t buy that b.s. here. I don’t think its plausible at all. I also note your assertions are unsupported by, oh what’s that stuff, oh yeah, evidence.

  20. says

    To Saad, Leo Buzalsky and Dunc –

    He’s not naive, he’s callous. For those who don’t know or don’t remember (Mano can testify to this) he has a long and sordid history of rationalizing, defending and encouraging terrorist acts against Palestine, Lebanon, Iran and elsewhere. The victims of the US government’s terrorist act are another “they” that he sees as undeserving of human rights.

    It’s best just to do what was done to slc/colnago – ignore the troll and make it clear he’s unwelcome, after which he’ll eventually go away. I don’t bother reading his posts at all, though he’ll probably write a reply anyway. Yes, I’m deliberately not writing his name.

  21. StevoR says

    Because it seems I gotta state the obvious here – what do you think is more likely to draw more negative attention and bad PR and condemnationan foreseeable “blow back”?

    1) Deliberately bombing the MSF hospital in an obvious war crime that draws worldwide outrage attacking a well known and globally respected NGO?

    Or

    2) doing unspecified “unpleasant stuff” to the locals? (Like that isn’t happening already anyhow just with the war?)

    Gee, lets think.. I’m gonna go with 1 here by Astronomical Units and that’s why I’m not buying the motive suggestion of Dunc #18.

  22. Dunc says

    Like every one of the extremely long list of previous similar occurrences, It will be whitewashed, and people like you will buy it. Look, you’re buying it right now, and they haven’t even started whitewashing it. You’re positively falling over yourself to construct excuses for them, and you’ll believe what ever bullshit line they trot out.

  23. Saad says

    StevoR, #22

    We’re not saying it’s deliberate in the sense that Boko Haram attacks on civilians are deliberate. Stop strawmaning.

    I’m saying it’s American exceptionalism at its most vile because they can’t be bothered to worry much about the lives of the Afghanis. That much is not even in question (they continued for 30 minutes after being informed they’re hitting a hospital and had been informed of those coordinates beforehand).

  24. Saad says

    leftover1under, #21

    Ah, I thought the name seemed familiar. Now I remember they also talked about nuclear strikes against Muslims in the past.

  25. Saad says

    October 05, 2015

    “Today the US government has admitted that it was their airstrike that hit our hospital in Kunduz and killed 22 patients and MSF staff. Their description of the attack keeps changing—from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government.

    The reality is the US dropped those bombs. The US hit a huge hospital full of wounded patients and MSF staff. The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition. There can be no justification for this horrible attack. With such constant discrepancies in the US and Afghan accounts of what happened, the need for a full transparent independent investigation is ever more critical.”

    —Christopher Stokes, General Director, Médecins Sans Frontières

    Link

  26. StevoR says

    @ Saad : I am a ‘he’ thankyou.

    I am also neither a troll nor callous.

    I have never supported terrorism against anyone and I do NOT support the use of nuclear or other WMDs against anyone incl. Muslims either. I see all humans as equally deserving of human rights.

    “I’m saying it’s American exceptionalism at its most vile because they can’t be bothered to worry much about the lives of the Afghanis. That much is not even in question (they continued for 30 minutes after being informed they’re hitting a hospital and had been informed of those coordinates beforehand).:”

    *If* those reports are true then yes. It is possible those reports are mistaken or leave out some key details here. Clearly the MSF hospital in Kunduz should NOT have been bombed and no one is saying otherwise least of all me.

    @23. Dunc :

    Like every one of the extremely long list of previous similar occurrences, It will be whitewashed, and people like you will buy it. Look, you’re buying it right now, and they haven’t even started whitewashing it. You’re positively falling over yourself to construct excuses for them, and you’ll believe what ever bullshit line they trot out.

    I’ll believe what the evidence and reason shows is most likely based on that evidence and logic.

    I am not aware of any “extremely long list” of previous similar occurrences although I do know there have been occassional cases of “collateral damage” and mistakenly firing on people in the past as always happens in wars. Did you have any particular list or links or evidence in mind to back up your claim there?

  27. Dunc says

    I am not aware of any “extremely long list” of previous similar occurrences although I do know there have been occassional cases of “collateral damage” and mistakenly firing on people in the past as always happens in wars. Did you have any particular list or links or evidence in mind to back up your claim there?

    It’s rather difficult to locate specific links to earlier similar events, because of the amount of current reporting about this incident, and the general number of hits you get for anything related to US bombing, because they bomb so many damn things all the god-damn time. However, the examples I can think of straight off the top of my head include the US bombings of a Red Crescent maternity hospital in Baghdad, a Red Crescent hospital in Kandahar, the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, the Al Jazeera offices in Baghdad, the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul, the Abu Dhabi TV offices in Baghdad, the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad (the base for most journalists in the area at the time), the Apache gunship attack that killed two Reuters journalists in Baghdad, and the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Then, of course, there are the multiple Israeli attacks on hospitals and ambulances in Gaza and the West Bank.

    And that’s before we need to go anywhere near the numerous instances of war crimes committed by the US during the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War…

  28. Dunc says

    Actually, no, let’s talk about Vietnam for a moment: http://www.thenation.com/article/look-for-hospitals-as-targets/

     U.S. commanders in Vietnam placed no restrictions on ground or air attacks against Viet Cong or North Vietnamese hospitals a Senate committee was told yesterday by several Vietnam veterans.

    In direct testimony and in letters, the veterans said hospitals often were considered targets rather than areas to be avoided as required by the Geneva convention on warfare.…

    […]

     In testimony on the hospitals, Alan Stevenson, a stockbroker from San Francisco and former Army intelligence specialist, said that while in Quang Tri province in 1969, he routinely listed hospitals among targets to be struck by American fighter plans. [sic]

    […]

     Former Air Force captain general Gerald Greven said he personally ordered bombing raids against hospitals: It was policy, he said, to “look for hospitals as targets.”

  29. Saad says

    *If* those reports are true then yes. It is possible those reports are mistaken or leave out some key details here.

    Hyperskepticism of the victims’ claim when the enlightened and civilized West is the one being accused.

    Fantastic.

    Also, with your level of skepticism, I expect you to completely disregard the report from an investigation carried out by the U.S. or any of the other coalition countries. Especially if those reports exonerate the U.S.

  30. jo1storm says

    P.s. From that year on, I still cringe on the “collateral damage” expression. Why? Because 12 year old me and my friends and family could have ended as one. For the crime of living in the town by the river which had 2 bridges, with no military presence at all. So, f off.

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