The American military strongly disagreed, at first citing a casualty count of
Later, the American military was pushed into agreeing that yes, indeed, some civilians did indeed perish. The story contains a very chilling description of the way that American forces view real-time information and air power:
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Conway explained:
It's just very difficult to believe that the Special Forces really had on-the-ground, real-time, close-up human observers to inform the aircraft that their target was a memorial service. Tactical, close-in air support is of course, vitally important and needed if US troops are to win engagements. But it's really not clear that there was any "hardened compound" involved or that there even was any return fire. The NY Times piece cited in the story refers to "eight bomb-damaged houses," but the only mention of any "compound" is:
In other words, not a "hardened" compound at all, certainly nothing resembling a military bunker. There's no talk in the piece about captured weapons. And as to the "fire" reportedly received from the village:
The real question is then, were the Special Forces anywhere near the village to begin with? Were they observing from a distance, through scopes, or were they even that close? Did they simply hear or did their devices detect a large gathering? This is an inherent problem with airpower and guerrilla wars. Airpower is necessarily a very blunt and clumsy instrument to use against an enemy that slips around barely detectable, mostly unobserved and in the shadows. As stated earlier, close-up air support is vitally important while conducting tactical operations, but planes flying around and bombing targets without any human observers on the ground to confirm that the planes are indeed striking legitimate military targets do counterinsurgency forces far more harm than good.
Problem is, how on Earth can we reconcile military tactics that President Bush has approved with his allegedly "pro-life" stance? In his desire to be seen as a defender of the sanctity of life, he insisted back in 2001 that stem cells could used for medical research, but only under very strict conditions. He also made it clear during the 2000 campaign that he really didn't like abortions and wanted to reduce their incidence. He also favored, in July 2008, a sort-of conscience clause for hospitals that would allow employees to refuse to provide contraceptive services.
Can a human being really be that "Ahh, who gives a $%#@!" when it comes to casualties from an air strike, yet tenderly concerned and solicitous when it comes to decisions involving the unborn? It's not like the Afghan villagers of Azizabad were guilty of anything. Killing them was like killing the drivers and passengers in other cars when one is driving drunk. They were simply slaughtered at a distance. Their "guilt" was not an issue at all as there is no apparent evidence they were even in the vicinity of a legitimate military target.
As Christy Hardin Smith of FDL makes clear, women must have control over their bodies and their reproductive functions if they're to be full human beings and citizens.
Why tell you something so personal? Especially when it is no one's business but ours?
Because it is no one's business but ours how we made the decision, what medical issues were at stake, and what choices we made together. Which is the point of choice. No one but the people involved in the individual circumstances can truly know why the decision is made -- to terminate, to keep, to risk. [emphasis in original]
Well...exactly! That's precisely what pro-choicers have been saying all these many years! How a woman, how a family, deals with a problem pregnancy or with an unwanted pregnancy is their business and should be their choice.
"Pro-lifers" are nothing of the kind. They're people who want to deny choice and to force people to do things that people really don't want to do.