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JUST ANOTHER WAR CRIME? January 21, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in CENTRAL ASIA.

So much for the humanitarian war. Those responsible for murder must be indicted, even if they serve the war industries and their activities make possible the servicing of public money in the various countries for that purpose.

Injustice, brutality and criminality of the Afghanistan adventure are seldom reported in detail. Spencer Ackerman writes for Wired:

An American-led military unit pulverized an Afghan village in Kandahar’s Arghandab River Valley in October, after it became overrun with Taliban insurgents. It’s hard to understand how turning an entire village into dust fits into America’s counterinsurgency strategy — which supposedly prizes the local people’s loyalty above all else.

But it’s the latest indication that Gen. David Petraeus, the counterinsurgency icon, is prosecuting a frustrating war with surprising levels of violence. Some observers already fear a backlash brewing in the area.

Paula Broadwell, a West Point graduate and Petraeus biographer, described the destruction of Tarok Kolache in a guest post for Tom Ricks’ Foreign Policy blog. Or, at least, she described its aftermath: Nothing remains of Tarok Kolache after Lt. Col. David Flynn, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, made a fateful decision in October.

His men had come under relentless assault from homemade bombs emanating from the village, where a Taliban “intimidation campaign [chased] the villagers out” to create a staging ground for attacking the task force. With multiple U.S. amputations the result of the Taliban hold over Tarok Kolache, Flynn’s men were “terrified to go back into the pomegranate orchards to continue clearing [the area]; it seemed like certain death.”

After two failed attempts at clearing the village resulted in U.S and Afghan casualties, Flynn’s response was to take the village out. He ordered a mine-clearing line charge, using rocket-propelled explosives to create a path into the center of Tarok Kolache.

And that was for starters, Broadwell writes. Airstrikes from A-10s and B-1s combined with powerful ground-launched rockets on Oct. 6 to batter the village with “49,200 lbs. of ordnance” — which she writes, resulted in “NO CIVCAS,” meaning no civilians dead.

It seems difficult to understand how Broadwell or the 1-320th can be so confident they didn’t accidentally kill civilians after subjecting Tarok Kolache to nearly 25 tons worth of bombs and rockets. The rockets alone have a blast radius of about 50 meters [164 feet], so the potential for hitting bystanders is high with every strike.

As she clarified in a debate on her Facebook wall, “In the commander’s assessment, the deserted village was not worth clearing. If you lost several KIA and you might feel the same.” But without entering Tarok Kolache to clear it, how could U.S. or Afghan forces know it was completely devoid of civilians?

As Broadwell tells it, the villagers understood that the United States needed to destroy their homes — except when they don’t. One villager “in a fit of theatrics had accused Flynn of ruining his life after the demolition.”

Imagine, which would be as ghoulish as the reality in Afghanistan, if the same behavior occurred in the Homeland with same offers of compensation. The asymmetrical warfare will not stop until the occupation ends, nor will the escalating violence, and when the occupation finally ends those who collaborate with the invaders will be subject to vengeance or justice.

There will no photos of the dead, who shall remain nameless. There will be no expressions of regret and remorse. There will be no questioning of calculated killing, executed in cowardice without individual responsibility in the name of following orders wrapped in the remoteness of distance. If those responsible for the murder could see the consequences of their actions up front and on a human level they would be troubled for the rest of the poor lives, as they should be. They too are deserving of compassion.



1. stan kohls - January 21, 2011

The only “humanitarian war” is one where no humans are involved.

wmmbb - January 21, 2011

A very good idea, Stan.

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