Saturday, May 9, 2009


Thomas Riggins

"Our demand is that there will be no civilian casualties in Afghanistan. We cannot win the fight against terrorism with air strikes."

"This is my first demand of the new president of the United States - to put an end to civilian casualties."

 — Afghan President Hamid Karzai, November 5, 2008

On December 18, 2008, Afghan President Hamid Karzai again spoke of asking the United States to cooperate with his government in their military operations in his country. In a speech, he said that in the previous month he had again asked that the U.S. military in his country cooperate with his government, sending the U.S. government a list of demands about troop conduct, but did not say if he had received any response back.

"Part of that list was that they shouldn't, on their own, enter the houses of our people and bombard our villages and detain our people."-- President
Karzai. [the above is from Wikepedia "Civilian Causalities from the War in Afghanistan 2001-Present"]

Ostensibly the US [I'm not using "NATO" because that is just a facade] is in Afghanistan to help the Afghan government which we say is a democratically elected sovereign government. Actually we treat the government with contempt, ignore its wishes and do whatever we like in Afghanistan.

The arrogance of the US is unfathomable. Despite the best advice from Afghans on the ground, human rights activists, and independent scholars, and the Afghan leaders, we continue to use aerial bombardment of civilian areas, villages, groups of people working in fields or at celebrations (weddings, feasts), etc., bombing that has no military purpose, is counterproductive, alienates the population, and increases the strength of the "enemy."

The most recent example is the bombing of the village of Granai and a sister village nearby in the province of Farah last week. "Democracy Now" reported the civilian death rate is approaching 200 (the US does not include people who die later in hospital, only bodies on the spot and after deducting an arbitrary number of supposed "militants"-- i.e., Taliban).

Reports in the New York Times 5/7 and 5/8 2008 indicate there was a fire fight between the Taliban and US forces in fields outside the towns. The US forces retreated and called in air support. Meanwhile, the Taliban withdrew from the area to regroup. By the time the Air Force arrived the Taliban were long gone, all there was to bomb were the villagers. They and their children were blasted to pieces. Maybe some Afghan Picasso will memorialize this wanton slaughter. Maybe the picture will someday hang in the United Nations, to be discretely draped whenever a US President addresses the General Assembly. Maybe President Obama will withdraw our imperial forces of occupation and murder and put an end to tactics that so miserably failed in Vietnam. Maybe.