more civilians killed in Afghanistan: will Obama continue the war?

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From the NY Times today:

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An airstrike by United States-led forces killed 40 civilians and wounded 28 others at a wedding party in Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Wednesday. The casualties included women and children, the officials said.

The United States military and Afghan authorities were investigating the reports about the latest attack, the American military said in a statement, but it gave no confirmation of the strikes or any death toll.
By now, this is a familiar pattern.

The outlines of a cynical strategy emerge: deny, deny, deny for the first week or two until the story recedes from the front pages, then concede in bits and pieces until the story is broken up and defused over time and new distractions materialize. 
But this strategy only works if you stop blowing up wedding parties or villages every other month.
dead Afghan babies.jpg
The U.S. government's protestations that this usually almost never hardly happens, and when it does we sure by golly make sure it never ever happens again, remind me of nothing so much as the transparent scheming of an addict trying to hoodwink his loved ones and coworkers into letting him pursue his demons unhindered.

The infrequent reader visitor to this site may wonder what connection there is between civilian deaths in Afghanistan and the migrant rights movement in the U.S. The connection is the low regard with which the American people, through the young men and women who use lethal force to implement U.S. policies at home and abroad, hold non-citizens.

The same views and motivations that lead internet commenters to say things like

The only good illegal alien and H-1B is a DEAD one!
lead far too many Americans to turn the newspaper page or scroll down past the uncomfortable headline whenever we blow up another village or wedding party in Afghanistan.

I wondered recently:

what sense there is in a foreign policy that misdiagnoses threats to national security, sends the military to invade based on domestic political machinations, creating a regional humanitarian catastrophe, and then erects barrier upon barrier to resettlement of refugees from those conflicts, all the while claiming to be acting in the interest of said refugees and their families.
I am wondering this again today. This is the legacy Obama will inherit from Bush.

Will Obama continue the airstrikes on civilians, or will he exercise compassion and common sense and bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan? Based on what he said during the campaign, he plans to intensify the bombing and bring even more grief to the Afghan people.

"The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism," Obama said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq," he said.

Obama said troop levels must increase in Afghanistan.

"For at least a year now, I have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three," he told CBS.

"I think it's very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities. But military alone is not going to be enough."
I cannot emphasize enough what a mistake that would be. Let's hope he realizes this before we've wasted more American and Afghan lives in another bloody, pointless conflict that we never should have started.

[Image: Afghan Police, via Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images]

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1 Comments

janna said:

Oh my God, David - anyone who claims the sanctity of human life should consider what our government has done to cause the murder of those precious babies in that photo. I'm not the mother of any of those children, but anyone who would do this is, in my mind, a real terrorist.
"The connection is the low regard with which the American people, through the young men and women who use lethal force to implement U.S. policies at home and abroad, hold non-citizens." - Absolutely. There seems to be this belief that, if a person is not a U.S. citizen, they deserve any atrocity that comes their way. This is why ICE can continue their excessive tactics unchecked.

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This page contains a single entry by David Bennion published on November 5, 2008 11:27 PM.

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