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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/9/11

Word Games: Most US Media Hide an American Atrocity in Afghanistan Behind 'NATO' and Fudge the Victims' Ages

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By Dave Lindorff

The people of Afghanistan know who was flying the two helicopter gunships that brutally hunted down and slaughtered, one by one, nine boys apparently as young as seven years old, as they gathered firewood on a hillside March 1.  In angry demonstrations after the incident, they were shouting "Death to America."


Americans are still blissfully unaware that their "heroes" in uniform are guilty of this obscene massacre. The ovine US corporate media has been reporting on this story  based upon a gutless press release from the Pentagon which attributes the "mistake" to "NATO" helicopters.


The thing is, this terrible incident occurred in the Pech Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar province, where US forces have for several years been battling Taliban forces, and from which region they are now in the process of withdrawing. Clearly then, it is US, and not "NATO" helicopters which have been responding to calls to attack "suspected Taliban forces."


So why can't the Pentagon say that?  And if they won't say that, why won't American reporters either demand that they clearly state the nationality of whatever troops commit an atrocity, or exercise due diligence themselves and figure it out?


There is a second issue too. Most publications appear to have followed the lead of the highly compromised New York Times, and are going with the Pentagon line that the boys who were killed were aged 9-15. That's bad enough. It's hard to see how helicopter pilots with their high-resolution imaging equipment, cannot tell a 9-year-old boy when they see one, from a bearded Taliban fighter. But at least one news organization, the McClachy chain, is  reporting  that the ages of the boys who were murdered from the air were 7-13.  If that latter range of ages is correct, then it is all the more outrageous that they were picked off one by one by helicopter gunners. No way could they have mistaken a 7-year-old for an adult.


No wonder the even the famously corrupt Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused to accept an apology proffered for this killing by Afghan War commander Gen. David Petraeus.


Calls by this reporter to the Pentagon for an accurate report on whose troops were flying those two helicopters, and on an accurate accounting of the ages of the nine victims, have thus far gone unanswered. This, I have discovered, is fairly standard for the Defense Department...


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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)
 

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