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Our “Regard for Human Life” Just Killed Eight More Afghan Civilians

Posted by dcrowe on May 21st, 2009

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We just killed eight more civilians.

“The ISAF troops, however, were not aware that the insurgents were once again using civilians as human shields. If this information had been known by ISAF troops, no ordnance would have been used.

“Tragically, it is believed that eight civilians were killed as a result of the air strike. This terrible incident again shows the insurgents’ blatant disregard for the lives of Afghan people.”

First of all, I have a hard time reading our team’s military spin claiming that if they knew there were firing on an area that might have civilians in it, “no ordnance would have been used.” A week ago we dropped two one-ton bombs and several 500-pound bombs on a single village where we knew civilians were, which resulted in around 100 casualties, U.S. military protests notwithstanding. When any government shells out X number of $2,000 reparations, you can bet they are pretty darn sure they believe X number of civilians were killed. (The military’s “rebuttal” astounds me: “See, we only killed thirty innocent people! See! We do care!“) Noah at Danger Room, hardly a peacenik hangout, said:

A pair of one-ton bombs in a single village — plus eight more runs of 500-pound bombs? That is a lot of firepower.

“[N]o ordinance would have been used.” At the latest end of a trend line ending in a record amount of ordinance being dropped on Afghanistan. Right.

Second, given the history here, the insurgents are not the only ones showing a blatant disregard for the lives of the Afghan people. We absolutely know that air strikes in support of ground troops in an active engagement have been responsible for more than 2/3 of the casualties caused by coalition troops. We know that for a fact and have known it for years. Yet, we continue to use them, and basically told Karzai to go to hell when he insisted we stop. We’ve done the math and concluded it’s just not worth it for us to change the way we operate so that we avoid these mass killings. That is the definition of blatant disregard.

If we wanted to show regard for human life, we’d give up on the ends we seek that we cannot find a way to get without taking a human life. But that would be logical, humane, and maybe a little bit Christian, three things that have nothing to do with war.

FYI, the Senate is about to vote on supplemental war funding. The Episcopal Peace Fellowship is pushing supporters to call in today and tell your senators to vote against war funding. Join in:

Congressional Switchboard Number: 1-800-517-5696

This must stop. We need to let our elected representatives know we want them to end the war. If they won’t do it, we need to step outside of the normal channels and plan a civil disobedeience campaign to ratchet up the pressure. But Christians in Iraq and Afghanistan can stop this right now: lay down your weapons and refuse to follow orders that would result in the deaths of other human beings.

(Also on Return Good for Evil)


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