NATO Airstrike Kills Another Three Civilians

Posted: December 18, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

AFP reports that a NATO airstrike from a helicopter gunship killed three civilian men and wounded a woman in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF) press release claims the helicopter crew fired at men placing IEDs next to the road and afterwards “discovered civilians in a car adjacent to the IED site.”

On Thursday, a “roadside mine” killed another seven civilians in Kandahar province.

Expect more civilian casualties as President Obama’s latest escalation sends more troops into Kandahar. Most civilians killed by insurgents die from IEDs and suicide attacks, while airstrikes in support of troops in combat account for most civilians killed by NATO and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. When this summer’s Operation Khanjar pushed into Helmand province, anti-Kabul-government forces responded by laying more IEDs, which led to a severe spike in civilian deaths.

Based on the Helmand experience, we know sending more troops into insurgent-controlled areas will mean IED attacks. We know new IED attacks will mean many more civilian deaths, not to mention the number of civilians that will be directly killed by U.S. forces. We’re doing it anyway. The people who will be killed have a right to life that exists independently of our goals in the region. We’re essentially making a decision for them that it’s better for them to be dead than under the thumb of the Taliban. If they want to make that decision, fine, let them. But that’s not our decision.

End the war in Afghanistan. Bring the troops home.

Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal. The views expressed are his own. Sign our CREDO petition to reject escalation in Afghanistan & join Brave New Foundation’s #NoWar candlelight vigil on Facebook and Twitter. But make these your first steps as an activist to end this war, not your last.

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Comments
  1. Colin says:

    Ever notice the spin put on this article? The article calls them civilians (based on exactly what evidence?) But our military’s reports that the were observed planting IEDs and a vehicle with IED components was captured at the site are “claims.”

    And the idea that we should not send US troops in places where the enemy uses civilians as human shields is nothing more than rewarding the enemy for comitting war crimes.

    Do a little bit of research and you will notice that in all of the ‘bodycount’ sites: dead enemy combatants are lumped in with dead civilians. Is this honest?

    • dcrowe says:

      Hey Colin:

      Now wait a sec…the civilians killed were not the ones observed planting IEDs. The folks who were observed planting IEDs were the targets and were killed. However, there were apparently also civilians nearby.

      And the idea that we should not send US troops in places where the enemy uses civilians as human shields is nothing more than rewarding the enemy for comitting war crimes.

      That’s one way of looking at it. Looked at in another way, though, sending troops in is knowingly elevating risk to civilians for the sake of your objective.

      And the idea that we should not send US troops in places where the enemy uses civilians as human shields is nothing more than rewarding the enemy for comitting war crimes.

      That’s certanly not the case in the figures from sources I cite. Can you provide an example?

  2. Colin says:

    BTW – another ethical issue with this story is that you are criticizing us when it is the enemy’s choice to use civilians as shields. By refusing to criticise them – you are giving tacit approval to their tactics.

    Another thing is that by refusing to discuss the enemy’s war crimes – you are presenting a misleading picture of what is happening over there.

    There is no excuse for this sort of intellectual dishonesty.

    • dcrowe says:

      Colin:

      I clearly note, both in the video and the text, that most civilians are killed by IED and suicide attacks from anti-Kabul-government forces in Afghanistan. However, I have zero influence over Taliban leadership, and my chief concern is to hold people accountable who act in my name. It’s not intellectual dishonesty. It’s writing with a purpose. I assume my readers are well aware of the ethical problems in Taliban and AQ behavior. For example, you are fully aware.

  3. Colin says:

    “Now wait a sec…the civilians killed were not the ones observed planting IEDs. The folks who were observed planting IEDs were the targets and were killed. However, there were apparently also civilians nearby. ”

    And you assign 100% of the blame to our prople and ignore the fact that this was in reality another Taliban war crime.

    You use the word “claims” to minimalize what our people say but repeat enemy propaganda without any skepticisim whatsoever.

    Has it ever occurred to you why the enemy uses civilians as shields? Has it ever occurred to you why the enemy deliberately goes out of their way to maximize the number of dead civilians?

    The answer is very simple – they want people like yourself to win the war for them by forcing a withdrawal of our troops.

    In effect you have become nothing more than a part of the enemy propaganda machine.

    And the really sad thing is that the greater your outrage – the more civilians they will kill.

    People like you extended the duration of the war in Iraq by two years. The enemy knew that they could not win militariarly and were counting on the US peace movement to force us to retreat. (If you don’t thinkl that the enemy reads our nesw media and blogs like yours – you are very niave.)

    In the military I was trained to be aware of the second and third order effects of actions and operations. Are you considering the second and third order effects of your blog? Or would this require that you accept personal responsibility?

    • dcrowe says:

      Colin:

      You said:

      And you assign 100% of the blame to our prople and ignore the fact that this was in reality another Taliban war crime.

      No, I don’t, and you know I don’t based on conversations we’ve had in other threads. However, seeing as how the weapon was fired by ISAF forces, NATO does bear primary responsibility for the direct consequences of their actions. Of course the Taliban is implicated for laying an IED (which would likely kill civilians if it went off) and for hiding among the civilian population.

      But again, the Taliban are not the element in the conflict purporting to act in my name, so in my view it’s far more important (and useful) for me to clearly note when the faction that does purport to act in my name acts in a way with which I disagree.

      You use the word “claims” to minimalize what our people say but repeat enemy propaganda without any skepticisim whatsoever.

      Again, not correct.

      First, I did not intend to use the word “claim” in a pejorative or dismissive way. If I were writing from a non-skeptical viewpoint, I would not have included a link and a quote from ISAF’s press release so that readers could go read for themselves ISAF’s viewpoint. In fact, I did not dispute, at all, ISAF’s version of events. You’ll even note that in the prior comment, I took their version as fact.

      Second, did you notice how just after the story on the airstrike, I wrote that an insurgent IED killed civilians in Kandahar?

      If you’re so exercised about my bias, maybe you’d be kind enough to point out the points in the press release that dispute the version of events relayed in my post.

      Has it ever occurred to you why the enemy uses civilians as shields? Has it ever occurred to you why the enemy deliberately goes out of their way to maximize the number of dead civilians?

      The answer is very simple – they want people like yourself to win the war for them by forcing a withdrawal of our troops….and the really sad thing is that the greater your outrage – the more civilians they will kill.

      Are you asserting that people shouldn’t express outrage when forces acting in their name kill noncombatants?

      People like you extended the duration of the war in Iraq by two years. The enemy knew that they could not win militariarly and were counting on the US peace movement to force us to retreat.

      If people “like me” had been listened to in the first place, the Iraq war would have been 6-and-a-half years shorter, and counting, because there wouldn’t have been a war in the first place.

      In the military I was trained to be aware of the second and third order effects of actions and operations. Are you considering the second and third order effects of your blog? Or would this require that you accept personal responsibility?

      Of course I am. But if you’re worried that my blog will have a huge impact on the war effort, you can relax: I’m happy if it breaks 50 views a day LOL

  4. Doug says:

    Proposition: It is sad and wrong when civilians are killed, and escalating the war will also escalate civilian casualties.

    Supposed Rebuttal: Either you unquestioningly support everything we do during a war or you are part of the terrorist propaganda machine.

    LogicFail.

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