Given the history of the commanding general in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who is known to have run a massive death squad operation in Iraq before being named to his current post by President Obama, and who is known to have called for the same kind of tactics in Afghanistan, it should not be surprising that the US would now be committing atrocities in Afghanistan. If this is how this war is going to be conducted, though, the US media should be making a major effort to uncover and expose the crime.
On January 1, the London Times' Starkey, in Afghanistan, followed up with a second story, reporting that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is calling for the US to hand over the troops who killed the students. He also quoted a "NATO source" as saying that the "foreigners involved" in the incident were "non-military, suggesting that they were part of a secret paramilitary unit based in the capital" of Kabul. Starkey also quotes a "Western official" as saying: "There's no doubt that there were insurgents there, and there may well have been an insurgent leader in the house, but that doesn't justify executing eight children who were all enrolled in local schools."
Good enterprise reporting by the London Times and its Kabul-based correspondent. Silence on these developments in the US media.
Meanwhile, it has been a week since the New York Times reporters Rubin and Wafa made their first flawed report on the incident, and there has been not a word since then about it in the paper. Are Rubin and Wafa or other Times reporters on the story? Will there be a follow-up?
On the evidence of past coverage of these US wars and their ongoing atrocities by the Times and by other major US corporate media news organizations don't bet on it. You'll do better looking to the foreign media.
By the way, given that we're talking the allegation of a serious war crime here, it is important to note that, under the Geneva Conventions, it is a legal requirement that the US military chain of command immediately initiate an official investigation to determine whether such a crime has occurred. One would hope that the commander in chief, President Obama, would order such an inquiry.
Any effort to prevent such an inquiry, or to cover up a war crime, would be a war crime in itself. We just had one administration that did a lot of that. We don't need another one.
NOTE: Kudos to David Swanson of the website www.afterdowningstreet.org, for bringing attention to this story.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-area journalist. His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net