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8.  "Afghan president: 'US forces killed 16 civilians'” by Jason Straziuso and Rahim Faiez, Associated Press Writers Jan 25

'KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai condemned a U.S. operation he said killed 16 Afghan civilians, while hundreds of villagers denounced the American military during an angry demonstration Sunday."

But we were hoping Obama would respect the Afghan legislature years old call for negotiations with the former governing Taliban (still governing most of the land), a thirty-five year back amnesty for all fighters, and the withdrawal of all foreign forces. There has been talk of negotiations in media recently, and Obama had said Afghanistan would take more than a military solution.

“Karzai said the killing of innocent Afghans during U.S. military operations "is strengthening the terrorists." He also announced that his Ministry of Defense sent Washington a draft technical agreement that seeks to give Afghanistan more oversight over U.S. military operations. The same letter has also been sent to NATO headquarters.
Karzai in recent weeks has increasingly lashed out at his Western backers over the issue of civilian casualties, ...
Karzai's latest criticism follows a Saturday raid in Laghman province. ... The U.S. military said '"We are sorry for this incident and after this we are going to coordinate our operations with Afghan forces,"
Karzai last week told parliament that the U.S. and NATO have not heeded his calls to stop air strikes in civilian areas. Karzai has recently sought to have more control over what kinds of activities U.S. and NATO forces can carry out. According to a copy obtained by The Associated Press last week, the draft technical agreement Karzai's government sent to Washington and NATO headquarters calls for:
• The deployment of additional U.S. or NATO troops and their location carried out only with Afghan government approval.
• Full coordination between Afghan and NATO defense authorities "at the highest possible level for all phases of military and ground operations."
• House searches and detention operations to be carried out only by Afghan security forces.
... the U.S. military has also been known to not fully acknowledge when it killed civilians. After a battle in August in the village of Azizabad ... The Afghan government and the U.N. said 90 civilians were killed."

Will Obama continue the Bush directive that if less than thirty civilians deaths are anticipated in a strike targeting insurgent leaders, no White House approval is required?

9. “We will not apologize for our way of life”, aggressively intoned Obama in his inaugural address - sounding threatening, just like Bush did. Is it not an arrogant statement? Is mindless consumption pushed by a cartelized commercial media, a way of life in which the U.S. with 5% of the world’s population consumes 25% of the world’s resources not deplorable. Has not the America way of life included world dominance? Is it not our way of life that produces a majority of the world’s weapons and is responsible for a war in Iraq that has caused the death of hundreds of thousands and the wounding/maiming of millions plus 3 million refugees - which Obama already denounced without however apologizing to Iraqis. There is plenty to apologize for - imperialist wars and CIA assassinations and destabilization of democratic governments.

Let’s don’t be silent, neither about Obama’s accomplishments nor, and especially, about what is disappointing and scary.

Organize to support an Obama led change that as yet is slight.

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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles (more...)

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