'Rivers of Blood:'
The West Could Care Less for Deaths of Afghans
grieve for their dead - they don't dance or sing. … we have to live with the
shenanigans of Western powers that have reserved for themselves the right to
brand entire peoples or states "rogue," and then bully and blackmail those
they have branded."
Trying to make amends: Director of Communications, Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, visits a boy injured during a NATO air strike. Just days after a new NATO directive to aggressively avoid civilian casualties, over 90 people, many of them civilian, appear to have been killed when NATO jets destroyed an oil tanker stolen by the Taliban. It appears that the truck got stuck, and the Taliban had offered the fuel to local people.
As American and European big wigs harp about fighting in Afghanistan
to secure their own streets, Afghans pay the price with rivers of innocent
blood - the blood of civilians, their children and their women. The latest in
this incessant bloodbath was Friday's NATO air strike in KunduzProvince
. The attack claimed at
least 90 lives, mostly civilian, which the NATO command is reluctant
to own up.
Nonetheless, this deadly strike negates the directive of NATO's
new commander in Afghanistan,
General Stanley McChrystal. Recently, the general ordered his forces to call
off assaults when civilian lives are at risk - an implicit acknowledgement of
the massive civilian killings that result from coalition operations.
The directive was issued primarily to shuck off the negative
consequences of these massacres on NATO's war in Afghanistan,
as was the recently issued order of Taliban leader Mullah Omar to his own forces.
Because although Taliban actions are directed mostly at military targets, their
roadside bombs, suicide bombings, ambushes and frontal attacks nevertheless
exact a heavy toll on civilian lives as well.
But the saddest part of this colossal massacre of Afghan
civilians is the lack of tears welling up in Western eyes. They seem to keep a
meticulous tab of their casualties of their own soldiers, but don't venture the
vaguest calculation of how many Afghan civilians are being killed. Thus far, not
a single Western human rights watchdog has made an issue of this civilian
carnage. Even reputable international organizations like Amnesty International
and Human Rights Watch have remained mum. Western hearts grieve for their own
alone. And if the Afghanistan
war is becoming increasingly unpopular in the West, it's because of the
mounting deaths and casualties among their own military ranks.
Brits are angry with their government for not equipping its
troops with lifesaving gear, armored vehicles and helicopters to augment their
killing power. And in their media, they prominently and pathetically display funeral
scenes of their soldiers killed there with their loved ones all in tears. Meanwhile,
American Defense Secretary Robert Gates is embroiled in a bitter row with U.S.
news agency The Associated Press for
distributing a photo of a mortally wounded American soldier in Afghanistan,
arguing that it has further aggrieved the soldier's family. Afghans also grieve
for their dead - they don't dance or sing. And it's not just an Afghan
civilian's immediate family that mourns the violent death of the deceased. Because
of ties of blood, it's the entire tribe that feels aggrieved. Afghan dead have
loved ones too - and many.
And then there is the issue of why the U.S.-led invaders are
in Afghanistan at
all? If it was as a response to the September 11 terrorist assault, Afghanistan
was the wrong candidate for invasion. This assault wasn't planned in Afghanistan
nor was any Afghan involved. The assault was plotted in Germany
and perpetrated by Arab youths who had studied in Western universities and
trained at American flying schools. If the invasion was for al-Qaeda, the
invaders neither corralled the rump of al-Qaeda nor tried to finish them off. Instead,
al-Qaeda was allowed to regroup. In 2005, the Americans even terminated the
special [CIA] team formed to capture bin
Laden - "dead or alive."
Now we have to live with the shenanigans of Western powers
that have reserved for themselves the right to brand entire peoples or states "rogue,"
and then bully and blackmail those they have branded. They did it with Saddam's
branded Iraq a
rogue state and then the pogrom of Iraqi civilians ensued, conducted first by
manipulating murderous U.N. sanctions and snuffing out thousands of Iraqi
children by imposing critical shortages of baby food and medicine, and then by
waging a war rejected by the U.N. Security Council which killed countless of
civilians. If there was any justice in the world, the entire U.S.-led war party
would be facing trial for crimes against humanity.
How different are today's Taliban from their cousins who fought
the Soviet invaders - which the West called a Jihad (holy war) and the Soviets labeled
terrorism?; Who the West once called freedom fighters and mujahideen (holy
warriors), while the Soviets called bandits?
That is a question historians will decide. But for now, Afghanistan
is awash with the rivers of civilian blood. And sadly, the are not mourned by outsiders.
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