Thursday, May 10, 2007

Americans Pay Compensation For Killing Innocent Afghanis; Afghani Parliament Wants Foreign Troops Out!

On March 4, after a suicide bomber in Afghanistan injured one Marine, other Marine Special Operations forces opened fire on unarmed civilians.

We have discussed this event several occasions, and we have also noted with extreme disgust so-called dissident writers attempting to absolve the Marines of responsibility.

But not even the Pentagon will go that far, as David Cloud of the New York Times reports.

U.S. Pays and Apologizes to Kin of Afghans Killed by Marines
An Army commander apologized and paid compensation on Tuesday to families of Afghan civilians killed by marines after a suicide attack in March, in the first formal acknowledgment by the American authorities that the killings were unjustified.

Col. John Nicholson, an Army brigade commander in eastern Afghanistan, met Tuesday with the families of the 19 Afghans killed and 50 wounded when a Marine Special Operations unit opened fire on a crowded stretch of road near Jalalabad after a suicide bomber in a vehicle rammed their convoy.

“I stand before you today, deeply, deeply ashamed and terribly sorry that Americans have killed and wounded innocent Afghan people,” Colonel Nicholson said, recounting to reporters the words he had used in the meetings. In a videoconference to reporters at the Pentagon, he added, “We made official apologies on the part of the U.S. government” and paid $2,000 for each death.
Nonetheless, the hypocrisy continues, with American officers trying to pretend that unarmed innocent civilian noncombatants matter to them:
The incident is already the subject of a criminal investigation by the Pentagon. But the decision to issue a public apology now reflects the military’s growing concern that recent civilian casualties have led to widespread ill will among Afghans and could jeopardize military operations.

“Any time we’re responsible for the loss of innocent life, we understand that that hurts our ability to accomplish the mission,” Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday.

The American military considers offering payments to relatives of victims vital in allaying anger among civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the military regularly makes payments when it kills noncombatants.

Such payments are sometimes accompanied by statements saying that the military is not acknowledging that its soldiers acted improperly. But in this case, Colonel Nicholson went further than usual in acknowledging that the civilians were “innocent Afghans.”

“This is a terrible, terrible mistake, and my nation grieves with you for your loss and suffering,” he said in his statement to the families. “We humbly and respectfully ask for your forgiveness.”
Aside from the fact that there is nothing humble or respectful about the American military being in Afghanistan in the first place, it is quite clear that our nation does not grieve for the loss and suffering of anyone, anywhere in the world.

If anyone wanted more evidence, they only had to wait another day, until Carlotta Gall filed yet another story about yet another "terrible, terrible mistake".

Afghans Say U.S. Airstrikes Killed 21 Civilians
Afghan officials said Wednesday that airstrikes called in by American Special Forces against Taliban fighters in Helmand Province had killed 21 civilians, the latest in a series of claims of noncombatant casualties that have strained relations with the Afghan government.

American military officials said they could not confirm that civilians had died in the fighting, a 16-hour battle that took place Tuesday at a village called Sarban Qala, near Sangin in Helmand Province.

But the governor of Helmand and the local administrator said civilians were killed, among them women and children, when their houses were bombed. “Twenty-one civilians were killed due to aerial bombardment,” said Ezatullah, the district chief of Sangin, who uses only one name, in a telephone interview.

This month, Afghan officials have said, dozens of civilians were killed after a joint American and Afghan Army patrol was ambushed near Shindand, in Herat Province, and called in airstrikes.

In a sign of the growing anger with the presence of foreign troops, the upper house of the Afghan Parliament passed a motion on Wednesday calling for a military cease-fire and negotiations with the Taliban. The resolution, which is not expected to be approved, also calls for a date to be set for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
Let's slow down and take all this in: The Afghan Parliament wants a cease-fire, negotiations with the Taliban and the withdrawal of foreign troops.

But it isn't going to make any difference, because Guess What?

We don't care what the Afghan Parliament wants. And neither does NATO.
Nicholas Lunt, a NATO spokesman in Afghanistan, told The Associated Press that it was “quite clear” that the action by the Afghan Parliament was a statement about how military operations are carried out.
But it wasn't. It was a statement about whether military operations should be carried out!
He said NATO took the issue “very, very seriously.”
But at the same time he made it very clear that this is not true.
“I do not consider this at the moment a decisive vote on our status here, and I think it would be wrong to interpret it that way,” he said. “But I think it is definitely a warning shot across NATO’s bows to take notice of the concerns.”

NATO has overall command of the international military effort in Afghanistan, including most of the American forces. But all three of the recent episodes involving allegations of civilian casualties have involved American Special Forces units that operate outside the NATO umbrella.
So here are "spoils" from the "war" on "terror": allegations of civilian casualties ... caused by American Special Forces ... operating outside the NATO umbrella ... turning civilians into puffs of dust ... and enjoying it!

May God have Mercy upon our Souls!


[related posts]

March 6:
No Photos, Please: Marines Gun Down Civilians In Afghanistan

March 11:
How The US Military Protects The American Public From Seeing Details That Are Not As They Originally Were, And Brings Freedom To Afghanistan

April 16:
Big Surprise: US Troops Used 'Excessive Force' In Firing On Unarmed Civilians In Afghanistan ...

May 5:
Mercy And Dignity For Unarmed Noncombatants? You Must Be Joking!

May 7
Liberation Of Afghanistan Continues Apace: Independent Media Are Next