OpEdNews Op Eds

Media Mutes General's Afghan Admission

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 5   Supported 5   News 4  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to None 3/30/10

Become a Fan
  (7 fans)

"We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat," says top American commander.


General McChrystal

President Obama's sneak visit to Afghanistan this weekend, although shrouded in secrecy, still received lots of prime press coverage.

At the same time, an astonishing open admission of possible US war crimes by Obama's man on the ground in Kabul, senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley A. McChrystal, was reported by Richard A. Oppel Jr. in the New York Times" and then promptly ignored by the rest of the mainstream media.

"We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat," McChrystal said during a recent video-conference to answer questions from troops in the field about civilian casualties.

According to the military's own figures, American and NATO troops firing from passing convoys and military checkpoints have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer, but as McChrystal noted, none of the victims proved to be a danger to the troops.

Despite new rules put in place by McChrystal, aimed at reducing the killing of innocents, such shootings have not dropped off. Although fewer in number than deaths from air strikes or Special Forces operations, their continuance, as the Times noted, "has led to growing resentment among Afghans fearful of Western troops and angry at what they see as the impunity with which the troops operate -- a friction that has turned villages firmly against the occupation."

These persistent "escalation of force" episodes have "emerged as a major frustration for military commanders who believe that civilian casualties deeply undermine the American and NATO campaign in Afghanistan."

A case in point: the murder of Mohammed Yonus, a 36-year-old imam killed two months ago while commuting to a madrasa where he taught 150 students. As Oppel noted, "a military convoy raked his car with bullets, ripping open his chest as his two sons sat in the car. The shooting inflamed residents and turned his neighborhood against the occupation, elders there say."

Although General McChrystal has reduced the number of civilians killed overall -- deaths from aerial attacks, for example, fell by more than a third last year -- shootings from convoys and checkpoints involving American, NATO and Afghan forces continue to plague the coalition. Shooting deaths caused by convoys guarded by private security contractors not part of the calculation -- make the total number of "escalation of force deaths" far higher than just those decried by McChrystal.

As noted by blogger Allison Kilkenny one media observer who wrote about McChystal's statement -- what the general admitted to may be a war crime:

"Military brass and the warmongering elite usually skirt war crimes accusations by saying the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations aren't conventional warfare. That is to say, the US is not at war with an official army, so anyone picked up on the battlefield (which is the entire world in the War on Terror) isn't a POW. They're an enemy combatant who does not have access to the protections afforded to enemy soldiers under the Geneva Convention.

This is a tricky way to circumvent accountability, but even this clever interpretation of international law can't cover the stink of McChrystal's admission. The US is occupying Afghanistan, and while there, they are killing innocent civilians, says the highest ranking military official in the country."

So, to recap: the President of the United States visits Afghanistan to deliver personally "pointed criticism to President Hamid Karzai in a face-to-face meeting," after flying in "for an unannounced visit that reflected growing vexation with Mr. Karzai as America's military commitment to defeat the Taliban insurgency has deepened."

The president's visit comes only days after his highest ranking military official confirms in the "Paper of Record" that his military forces have killed dozens of people, none of whom posed a threat and other media doesn't see fit even to mention that fact?

 

www.roryoconnor.org

Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor writes the 'Media Is A Plural' blog, accessible at www.roryoconnor.org.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz - How MSNBC Became a Liberal Mecca

Obama Comes for the Journalists

Facebook Is Not Your Friend

Crossing Zero: How and Why the Media Misses the AfPak Story

Insiders voice doubts about CIA's 9/11 story

PBS and Our "Need To Know" the Truth

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

The General would only be guilty of a war crime if... by Steven Leser on Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:53:42 PM
I do not think these are war crimes; killing peopl... by Allan Wayne on Wednesday, Mar 31, 2010 at 12:11:07 AM
is effectively cutting its own throat. Americans n... by Archie on Wednesday, Mar 31, 2010 at 3:53:47 PM