Innocents by articles.sfgate.com
The extreme cruelty and brutality of war is on full display in Afghanistan and Pakistan as hardly a week goes by that we do not hear of another attack by U.S. helicopter gunships or deadly drones that involve civilians. And, in so many cases, the victims are innocent, helpless children. These acts are being carried out by our military, based on orders issued by President Obama. This is not only a terrible tragedy for the people of those nations but also for America.
What kind of a president would allow such acts to continue and, actually, escalate? What does this say about the state of morality that currently exists within the leadership of our government? The tragic deaths of these children are of no consequence to those who conduct our wars; they do not seem to be the least bit troubled. After all these kids aren't American and that makes them expendable. They look kind of strange, kind of scruffy, most are illiterate and speak a funny language; and they live in a very backward, primitive type of country. Should anybody really care?
But, that said, they are all human beings who deserve to lead full lives just as American kids do. Unfortunately, they live in a nation that was invaded and occupied by the U.S. military and NATO. The problem is that they keep getting in the way; they keep trying to lead normal lives. What exactly is wrong with our military and our president? Are they incapable of distinguishing between large men with beards, carrying various kinds of weapons, and small kids?
Oh, I know all about the argument that this is what happens in wars; that innocent people die and that is "regrettable" and "very unfortunate." And, yes, we also need to understand that this comes under the category of "collateral damage", so that makes it acceptable. That does occur in wars but if you keep abreast of what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan, you know that this happens quite frequently and that drones and their hellfire missiles cannot and do not distinguish between good guys and bad guys.
You will find few if any reports of this slaughter of innocent children on any of the network or cable TV news shows. This useless national media will spend hours and days covering stories about American children who have been kidnapped, sexually abused or otherwise harmed; that's good for ratings. But you will never, ever see a story about how children in Afghanistan and Pakistan are being indiscriminately targeted by deadly drones or attack helicopters.
There are news outlets that will report these kinds of human tragedies. For example, a March 2 article in the Washington Post reported that nine young Afghan children were killed by an attack helicopter while, reportedly, collecting firewood. General Patraeus apologized for those regrettable and unfortunate deaths. This article includes an earlier account of a U.S. military operation in northeastern Afghanistan that killed 65 people, including 22 women and more than 30 children -- if that proves to be true, that is more than despicable.
An article from antiwar.com on March 15 tells of two Afghan children killed by NATO from the air while they were working on irrigation channels on their family's farm. Well, I suppose they shouldn't have been there doing what they were doing, right? In the wrong place at the wrong time! Another article, this from commondreams.org, March 18, describes an attack by a U.S. drone that killed 40 people in Pakistan, including 13 children.
These are just a few of the countless reports of innocent civilian deaths caused by U.S. and NATO troops during this horrific ten year war. This is a situation that has long been out of control but neither this president nor the military seem the least bit concerned. They are focused on the issue at hand; trying to convince Americans to keep troops in Afghanistan indefinitely, thereby extending the American empire of more than 750 U.S. military installations located in 135 countries around the world.
Now, let's talk about hypocrisy; I watched a retired Colonel on MSNBC make a comment about how the monster dictator Gaddafi was killing civilians in Libya. Sure that is a terrible thing that he is doing but what in the world does this cable TV analyst think about the fact that we are continually killing civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Is this yet another example of that double standard in which, if America does something really bad, then that's o.k., but if another nation does the very same thing, then it is monstrous?
We have a president who has dramatically escalated the use of these deadly drones, far more than Bush, since he assumed office. He is personally responsible for these tragic deaths of these children. But have you ever once heard any comment from him to the effect that he regrets these tragedies? Has he made any apology or expressed any remorse over these deaths? What does his complete silence on this moral issue tell us about him?
How about this news about the Afghan war? On March 17, the U.S. House overwhelmingly defeated a nonbinding resolution submitted by Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. The vote failed by a margin of 321 to 93. While that is a huge defeat it not all bad since we now have 93 politicians favoring withdrawal when in the past Kucinich stood almost alone. That's a bit of progress. Maybe some of these politicians actually do have consciences.
I wonder how many people in America go to their places of worship on Sunday and if they occasionally hear these words? "You shall not kill." Does that mean anything at all anymore? Does that only apply to the killing of Americans and not to other human beings in foreign lands? Is this yet another example of a double standard?
How much longer is this unconscionable killing of innocent civilians, and especially children, going to continue? How many more children have to die? This war is costing the unnecessary deaths of U.S. and NATO troops, innocent civilians, and America is recklessly throwing hundreds of billions of dollars into the black hole of war.
When is this president going to fully understand the magnitude of this destructive agenda of war and when will he find the moral courage to finally end it? He needs to think, and think very deeply, about these kids caught in the crosshairs of war.