Get Rethink Afghanistan Updates
Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter Get E-Mail Updates
You can help

Archive for October, 2015

Posted by DownWithTyranny on October 19th, 2015

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!

Credit: Finbarr O’Reilly, file photo, Reuters (source; click to enlarge)

by Gaius Publius

We have yet to write much about Clinton’s foreign policy, partly because so much of it is inferencial, and partly because so much has been held in reserve. But recently Clinton came out strongly opposed to the actions of Edward Snowden, taking a position very close to Obama’s tough stance on the matter.

And now she has come out in support of continued war in Afghanistan. I’ll have more later on a Clinton foreign policy — a discussion the “left” is not yet having — but I want to open the door to that discussion, as Clinton has done, with this news, from a recent interview with Jake Tapper.

Clinton Endorses Continued War in Afghanistan

Lauren McCauley at Common Dreams (note that her framing may not be yours; my emphasis):

Clinton Backs Plan for Endless War in Afghanistan

Democratic frontrunner says she “supports the president’s decision” to keep troops there until at least 2017

Presidential contender Hillary Clinton on Friday [October 16] declared her full support for President Obama’s plan to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until at least 2017, saying the move reflects a knowledge of “what’s going on in the real world.”

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, the former Secretary of State reiterated Obama’s position, saying that while the U.S. government doesn’t want troops engaged in on-the ground content, “we want them to help support and train the Afghan army.”

“So I can’t predict where things will be in January of 2017,” Clinton said. “But I support the president’s decision.”

She added that the move reflects that of “a leader who has strong convictions about what he would like to see happen but also pays attention to what’s going on in the real world.”

The interview followed the President’s announcement Thursday that as many as 5,500 soldiers will remain in the country for at least another year, reversing previous pledges to end the United States’ war in Afghanistan.

Two takeaways: One, this puts Ms. Clinton on the warrior side of the ledger. Do progressives want another warrior president? Some might, I realize, and some might not. This at least starts that debate.

Second, when Clinton talks about “support[ing] the Afghan army” — this is the kind of trouble our support gets us into:

The Doctors Without Borders Bombing Is Looking More and More Like a War Crime

On NBC Nightly News on Thursday, Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported that, based on the accounts of Defense Department sources, cockpit recordings from the AC-130 gunship involved in the incident “reveal that the crew actually questioned whether the airstrike was legal.” He also quoted a U.S. defense official suggesting that the attack “may in fact amount to a war crime.” The video and audio cockpit recordings of the incident, which feature conversations between the plane’s crew and U.S. troops on the ground, are at the center of the military’s investigation into the incident, as the Daily Beast’s Nancy Youssef reported last week.* The recordings have not been released publicly or even to the members of Congress who received a classified briefing on the incident. …

The U.S. explanation for how the incident took place has shifted several times and the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, reportedly believes that U.S. troops did not follow proper procedure. MSF, which has alleged that a war crime took place, is calling on the U.S. and Afghan governments to consent to an independent investigation, a request that has so far been rebuffeds.

One of those shifting U.S. explanations for the air strike was that Afghan forces called it in — the form of support called “air support.”

Sanders on Afghanistan

This is Bernie Sanders’ statement about the Afghan War, from his Issues page at BernieSanders.com:

Sen. Sanders called on both Presidents Bush and Obama to withdraw U.S. troops as soon as possible and for the people of Afghanistan to take full responsibility for their own security. After visiting Afghanistan, Sen. Sanders spoke-out against the rampant corruption he saw, particularly in regards to elections, security and the banking system.

If he holds by this and draws a clear distinction with Ms. Clinton, it’s possible the 2016 Democratic primary will also be a proxy vote on the future of the Afghan War. 

GP

Share this:
Comments Off
Bookmark and Share
Posted by Just Foreign Policy on October 19th, 2015

From our partners at Just Foreign Policy

The October 3 US military bombing of a Doctors Without Borders [MSF] hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan killed twelve humanitarians and ten patients, including three children.

The Pentagon claims the bombing was a mistake, but the Associated Press reported US special operations analysts had been investigating the hospital prior to the attack. If the gunship was aware of this or if commanding officers intentionally withheld the information from the gunship, the incident could qualify as a “war crime.”

As MSF has said, “it is impossible to expect parties involved in the conflict to carry out independent and impartial investigations of military actions in which they are themselves implicated.”

Reps. Ellison, McGovern, Barbara Lee, and Grijalva are circulating a letter to their colleagues backing calls for a civilian-led, independent investigation of this atrocity. Your Representative should join them in supporting an independent investigation.

Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121 and say,

“I urge you to sign the Ellison-McGovern-Lee-Grijalva letter calling for an independent investigation of the Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing.”

When you’re done, please report your call below.

And if you haven’t signed our petition asking members of Congress to sign the letter, you can do that here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/independent-investigation-MSF-bombing

Loading…

Share this:
Comments Off
Bookmark and Share
Posted by DownWithTyranny on October 9th, 2015

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!

by Gaius Publius

There’s new reporting on the U.S. bombing of the Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. As you may know, Doctors Without Borders wants the incident, in which 22 people were killed, including patients who burned to death in their beds, investigated as a war crime. (You’ll see their reasons lower in this piece.)

Now, thanks to excellent reporting by Ryan Grim at Huffington Post, we have more information. The bombing was apparently done at the request of the Afghan military, who had also attacked the hospital with Special Forces less than three months before the U.S. bombing. 

The implications of the bombing are horrific. The implications of this new story are worse. Let’s say it is a war crime. Did we do it because the Afghans said to? Who’s taking orders from whom in that war? And do U.S. commanders even care whom they’re bombing, if they’re blindly bombing targets chosen by others?

If so, in the game of Genius and Bully, we’re just the bully. From Ryan Grim’s report:

Kunduz Hospital Was Raided By Afghan Special Forces Just Three Months Before U.S. Bombing

The raid hints at a motive for the strike.

Afghan special forces raided the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz less than three months before a U.S. bombing killed 22 staff members and patients.

The raid took place on the afternoon of July 1, according to a statement from the hospital at the time. U.S. authorities have since said that Afghan forces called in Saturday’s bombing, which lasted for more than an hour, and that the U.S. was unaware it was striking a hospital.

The previous raid suggests that Afghan authorities were aware the facility was a hospital and had a hostile relationship with its staff prior to calling in the U.S. bombing.

According to a statement posted online in July, “heavily armed men from Afghan Special Forces entered the [Médecins Sans Frontières] hospital compound, cordoned off the facility and began shooting in the air.”

“The armed men physically assaulted three MSF staff members and entered the hospital with weapons,” the statement continued. “They then proceeded to arrest three patients. Hospital staff tried their best to ensure continued medical care for the three patients, and in the process, one MSF staff member was threatened at gunpoint by two armed men. After approximately one hour, the armed men released the three patients and left the hospital compound.”

While the motive of the raid is unclear, Afghan forces have long protested the practice of providing medical treatment to insurgents. But international law says that as soon as a fighter is in need of treatment, he is no longer a combatant. [...]

Note this: “U.S. authorities have since said that Afghan forces called in Saturday’s bombing…” Do Afghan forces direct American bombing? Again, the implications of just that sentence are pretty bad.

Is This a War Crime?

We’ve come a long way since World War II, when Nazi atrocities were prosecuted as war crimes, while incidents like the fire-bombing of Dresden and Tokyo, not to mention the destruction of Hiroshima, were not even brought up. Now we have ways to sometimes bring even the powerful to justice. The request of Doctors Without Borders? An independent international investigation.

Here’s a DWB statement (one of several) on the incident that plainly says there’s prima facie evidence of a war crime (my emphasis):

MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.

This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimize the attack as ‘collateral damage.’

There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation.”

And now from a CREDO petition also calling for an investigation (emphasis and footnotes in the original):

Sign the petition: Justice for Doctors Without Borders

In the middle of the night on Saturday, a U.S. military plane “repeatedly and very precisely” bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital filled with doctors, nurses and wounded patients in Kunduz, Afghanistan.1

The airstrike killed twelve Doctors Without Borders staff members and ten patients, including three children, and injured scores more. Some patients literally burned alive in their hospital beds.2

So far, the Pentagon has only released incomplete and contradictory accounts of what happened and why.

On Sunday, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) stated that: “Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body. Relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.”3

The world needs to know how and why this grave violation of International Humanitarian Law was committed.4 Those responsible for what we presume to be an atrocious war crime must then face justice. Please join Doctors Without Borders in calling for an immediate and independent international investigation.

Tell President Obama and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter: We join Doctors Without Borders and demand an investigation by an independent international body into the U.S. airstrike on the Kunduz hospital.

The Pentagon initially claimed that the hospital was hit by accident after U.S. troops nearby came under fire and called in the airstrike, then later changed its story and said that no U.S. troops were in the area and that Afghan troops called in the strike.5

But the Pentagon’s story simply doesn’t add up. According to Doctors Without Borders: “Not a single member of our staff reported any fighting inside the MSF hospital compound prior to the U.S. airstrike on Saturday morning… We reiterate that the main hospital building, where medical personnel were caring for patients, was repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched.”6

Further, “The bombing took place despite the fact that MSF had provided the GPS coordinates of the trauma hospital to Coalition and Afghan military and civilian officials as recently as Tuesday, September 29, [five days before the airstrike] to avoid that the hospital be hit.”7

Shockingly, the bombing continued for more than half an hour after Doctors Without Borders staff began making frantic calls to U.S. and Afghan military officials.

The Pentagon’s claim that the hospital was bombed by accident is also contradicted by statements by Afghan officials, who have tried to justify the attack by claiming that the hospital was used by the Taliban for military purposes. [...]

You can sign that petition here. If our military is innocent, what do they have to fear, right?

And if you consider that, after 15 years of war in Afghanistan, it’s time to get out, you might give these folks a little of your time and attention as well.

GP

The Specials (lyrics here)

Share this:
Comments Off
Bookmark and Share
Peacemakers take action to lead the charge to end the war. Join forces with the over 100,000 people who make a difference.
FACT SHEETS

BLOG POSTS FROM DERRICK CROWE
BLOG POSTS FROM ROBERT GREENWALD
RECENT POSTS

SEARCH THE BLOG
Subscribe via RSS
Become a Peacemaker



Bronze Telly Award
QUESTIONS
For general questions, email us here.
For technical issues regarding this site, contact us here.

PRESS

For Press inquiries, please contact Kim at: bravenewfoundation.press@gmail.com



CREDITS
Director: Robert Greenwald - Executive Director: Jim Miller - Producer: Jason Zaro - Associate Producer: Dallas Dunn, Jonathan Kim, and Kim Huynh - Researcher: Greg Wishnev - Editor: Phillip Cruess - Political Director: Leighton Woodhouse - VP Marketing & Distribution: Laura Beatty - Production Assistant: Monique Hairston

LEGAL
Anyone is allowed to post content on this site, but Brave New Foundation 501(c)(3) is not responsible for that content. We will, however, remove anything unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, racist, or that contains other material that would violate the law. By posting you agree to this.





Brave New Foundation | 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232