British actress Olivia Williams with sabre fish.
Topics: Politics News
Six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Thursday.
Those Afghan government officials claimed that the aircraft were chasing “insurgents” when they fired on the children, but the villagers and the children’s families — as usual — insist that is false:
The victims were members of two families.
Abdul Samad, an uncle of four of the children who were killed, disputed the government’s version of the attack. He said his relatives were working in fields near their village when they were attacked without warning by an aircraft.
His brother-in-law, Mohammad Rahim, 50, had his two sons and three daughters with him. They were between 4 and 12 years old and all were killed, except an 8-year-old daughter who was badly wounded, Mr. Samad said.
“There were no Taliban in the field; this is a baseless allegation that the Taliban were planting mines,” Mr. Samad said. “I have been to the scene and haven’t found a single bit of evidence of bombs or any other weapons. The Americans did a serious crime against innocent children, they will never ever be forgiven.”
I read about the death of these children yesterday and had decided not to write about it because I don’t have anything particularly new to say about it, but then all day, that decision irritated me because it just seems wrong to allow this to go unobserved (and in Southern Afghanistan, “NATO” in the vast majority of cases means: “American”). Whichever version is correct, the U.S. devastated these families forever and ended these children’s lives in a region where even U.S. officials say that there is a grand total of two Al Qaeda leaders and the group is “operationally ineffective.”
What’s particularly notable, I realized, is how we’re trained simply to accept these incidents as though they carry no meaning: we’re just supposed to chalk them up to regrettable accidents (oops), agree that they don’t compel a cessation to the war, and then get back to the glorious fighting. Every time that happens, this just becomes more normalized, less worthy of notice. It’s just like background noise: two families of children wiped out by an American missile (yawn: at least we don’t target them on purpose like those evil Terrorists: we just keep killing them year after year after year without meaning to). It’s acceptable to make arguments that American wars should end because they’re costing too much money or American lives or otherwise harming American strategic interests, but piles of corpses of innocent children are something only the shrill, shallow and unSerious — pacifists! — point to as though they have any meaning in terms of what should be done.
This kind of thinking would, I suppose, be viable if these were very isolated incidents. But they’re not. All in the name of a single, one-day attack more than a decade ago, the U.S. has spent more than ten years slaughtering Muslim children in numerous countries in all sorts of different ways, and we continue to do it unabated — see here, here, here, here, here, and here as just illustrative examples. All this as The Washington Post demands regime change in Iran, national security reporters start casually calling for war in Syria the way most people ponder their lunch options, and it is reported today that the U.S. is escalating its drone attacks and other proxy war fighting in Somalia. At some point, doesn’t a country’s ongoing willingness year after year to extinguish the lives of innocent human beings in multiple countries, for no good reason, seriously mar the character of the country and the political leaders responsible for it, to say nothing of the way it inexorably degrades the political culture of the nation and the minds of the citizens who acquiesce to it? That should be nothing more than a rhetorical question. The gap between how many Americans perceive of their nation’s role in the world and the reality is indescribably wide.
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Two questions which this episode raises: (1) why do they hate us?; and (2) why won’t those ridiculous, silly, unreasonable liberals — you know the dreary type: those “in their fifties with a ponytail” – swoon for President Obama the way career New Republic writers do? As we’ve been taught this week, liberal disenchantment with their Commander-in-Chief is a towering, baffling mystery because there is simply nothing rational that can explain it.
UPDATE: The U.S.-led effort to overturn the ban on cluster bombs, which I wrote about here, has apparently failed. I wonder if Democratic defenders of the administration will consider this development to be a failure or a success?
British actress Olivia Williams with sabre fish.
Gillian Anderson, aka Scully, with a conger eel.
British actor Nickolas Grace with a red mullet.
French actress Aure Atika with a parrotfish.
French-Portuguese actress Barbara Cabrita with a herring.
French actress Caroline Ducey with a barracuda.
French actor Emmanuel de Brantes with a barramundi.
British DJ Godlie with a redfish.
French/American actor Jean-Marc Barr with a mako shark.
BBC star Jeany Spark with a seabass.
Opera singer Joanna Bergin with a mackerel.
Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada with a bonito.
French actress Mélanie Bernier with a European eel.
British actor and director Serge Hazanavicius with a thicklip grey mullet.
French jazz guitarist Thomas Dutronc with a dusky grouper.
Glenn Greenwald (email: GGreenwald@salon.com) is a former Constitutional and civil rights litigator and is the author of three New York Times Bestselling books: two on the Bush administration's executive power and foreign policy abuses, and his latest book, With Liberty and Justice for Some, an indictment of America's
two-tiered system of justice. Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and is the winner of the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive detention of Bradley Manning.