Thursday, September 23, 2004


What's happening in Afghanistan

An article in the Guardian today focuses on the difficulties that Americans are having in their attempts to work with local Afghanis. Part of the problem:
During a medical patrol to help the sick in a remote village last Friday, commanding officer Captain Andrew Brosnan heard gunshots and mortar fire in a nearby valley. Suspecting bandits were attacking a truck convoy, he led an investigating team. As they mounted the slope his soldiers spotted two running figures in the distance. After a verbal warning and a warning shot, Capt Brosnan ordered his team to open fire.

But when the approached the fallen "enemy", they discovered they had shot two children, Abdul Ali, 12, who was hit in the leg, and his brother Abdul Wali, 10, who had been shot in the head. By the time a Black Hawk helicopter landed to evacuate the wounded boys, Wali was dead.


In a briefing after the shooting of the two boys, Col Sellers insisted the rules of engagement had been followed in the "tragic accident". But admitted it was a big setback to building relations with the already-suspicious local community.

On Sunday morning Abdul Nabi, the boys' father, sat nursing his surviving son at Kandahar military hospital.

"How can this be a mistake?" he asked, holding Ali's wounded leg in his hand. "A mistake is shooting one person. Not two. If they are shooting our children how can we be their friends?"
This is the ultimate question, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. How many of your sons, your fathers, sisters, brothers, neighbors, your friends, how many can you watch die from American weapons and still believe that the US is there to help you?

I think we never went into Afghanistan to help Afghans. We didn't go into Iraq to help Iraqis. Our initial entrance into relationships with both countries was done to counter the growing influence of those we felt were our enemies and wrong-thinkers. Afghanistan was just another way to fight the Russians when we still needed to fight them and Saddam Hussein was useful to us in our efforts to subvert Iran.

The "rules of engagement" aren't about the effect we have on the people who happen to live where we're carrying on our war of righteous domination. They're about convincing the American populace that any deaths caused by our military as they fight to keep us safe and cocooned are 'justifiable'.
Way to go, Aunt Deb. You are right on the money!
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