Written by Chris Floyd
|On Wednesday night, the BBC reported that a British soldier had been killed in Helmland province in Afghanistan. On Thursday night, the BBC reported that an airstrike by as-yet unidentified "foreign forces" has killed at least 18 civilians -- in Helmland province. From the BBC:|
A BBC reporter in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah saw the bodies - three women and the rest children - ranging in age from six months to 15.
This attack comes on top of an even more horrific mass slaughter a few weeks ago, when an American airstrike killed more than 90 civilians in Azizabad. Then, the Pentagon, with the connivance of FOX "journalist" Oliver North -- who made his bones running guns from the mullhas of Iran to the terrorist Contra army in Nicargua -- at first denied that any civilians were killed in the village, then tried to insinuate that the Taliban had planted the dead bodies. Only after video evidence and on-the-ground probes by the Afghan government and the UN did the Pentagon re-open its investigation, and finally admit that, well, maybe a few civilians did get knicked, er, fatally, in what was otherwise a magnificent feat of arms against a bristling enemy position. The reality, of course, as we reported here, was that a local busybody looking to dip into some of the contract gravy for servicing a nearby U.S. base falsely fingered a business rival, who was then killed in the heavy airstrike on a defenseless residential area.
No doubt the "NATO-led" investigation of the Helmland "incident" will find that yet another magnificent feat of arms has produced an unfortunate by-product: i.e, the corpses of at least 15 innocent children, including a six-month old baby. But as Seamus Milne points out in the Guardian, the mounting death toll of Afghan civilians is the result of deliberate policy, not "regrettable" accident or the mischance of war:
In this year alone, for every occupation soldier killed, at least three Afghan civilians have died at the hands of occupation forces. They include the 95 people, 60 of them children, killed by a US air assault in Azizabad in August; the 47 wedding guests dismembered by US bombardment in Nangarhar in July - US forces have a particular habit of attacking weddings; and the four women and children killed in a British rocket barrage six weeks ago in Sangin.Stephen Kinzer, writing in the Boston Globe, adds:
As long as the campaign continues, recruits will pour into Taliban ranks. It is no accident that the Taliban has mushroomed since the current bombing campaign began. It allows the Taliban to claim the mantle of resistance to a foreign occupier. In Afghanistan, there is none more sacred.Milne notes the growing blowback elsewhere:
Gordon Brown recently told British troops in Helmand: "What you are doing here prevents terrorism coming to the streets of Britain." The opposite is the case. The occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq - and the atrocities carried out against their people - are a crucial motivation for those planning terror attacks in Britain, as case after case has shown. Now the US is launching attacks inside Pakistan, the risks of further terror and destabilisation can only grow.
Almost everyone -- except George W. Bush, John McCain and Barack Obama -- recognizes, as Milne puts it:
We wrote on this same theme here recently:
Don't tell Obama and McCain, but the war they are both counting on to make their bones as commander-in-chief -- the "good war" in Afghanistan, which both men have pledged to expand -- is already lost. Their joint strategy of pouring more troops, tanks, missiles and planes into the roaring fire -- not to mention their intention to spread the war into Pakistan -- will only lead to disaster.
Obama's position is the most relevant now, as it seems increasingly likely that he will be the next interim manager of the empire. And as we noted here, his position is a vast war crime in the making:
The Democratic candidate's stated polices on the conflict dovetail exactly with those of Rove, Bush and McCain: Thousands of more troops. More military hardware. More drone missile strikes, not only in Afghanistan but in Pakistan as well. Obama has also pledged to pressure the Europeans to send more troops and hardware of their own to Afghanistan, with "fewer restrictions" on their combat operations.
But hey, at least Obama will look unflappable and cool as he orders another 10,000 men or more into the cauldron, where they will have to be protected from the people they have come to "liberate" by more and more "close air support" against sleeping villagers, wedding parties and infants. And you really can't ask for more than that in a president, can you?