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Caught in the Crosshairs of America's War: The Children of Afghanistan and Pakistan

By       Message michael payne     Permalink
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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?

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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?


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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.


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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.


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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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