Tag Archives: civilian deaths

Afghan Bombings Go On-Civilians Still Die

Both NATO and American military leaders have assured the people of Afghanistan that bombing raids will take care to avoid killing civilians. Just hours after NATO’s new secretary-general made those remarks, Associated Press reporters were shown the bodies of three young boys killed in a bombing raid. The angry residents of Kowuk yelled cries of anguish, “Death to America! Death to infidels!” as they mourned the death of the children.

The father of the dead children, Abdur Rahim, said he saw two helicopters circling over his compound and then missiles were fired into his home. “What was the fault of my innocent children? They were not Taliban. Did they come here to build our country or kill our innocent children?”

There are no simple answers to the questions of this Afghan man. Americans can promise to avoid killing civilians, but as long as there are insufficient soldiers on the ground, air strikes will continue — and so will the death of innocent civilians.

Amnesty International Charges Israel With War Crimes

Amnesty International(AI) charged that Israel military forces during their invasion of Gaza destroyed thousands of homes in attacks that border on any definition of war crimes. AI urged the Israel government to pledge its military forces will not use artillery, white phosphorous and other imprecise weapons in densely populated areas. On the other hand, AI urged Hamas to cease firing rockets into Israel and attacking innocent civilians. The Amnesty International report raises many questions such as why high precision weapons like tank shells and air delivered bombs and missiles “killed so many children and other civilians.” It is apparent the death of at least 900 civilians in what was supposed to be an offense to destroy enemy military forces should not have also resulted in the death of so many civilians.

Israel military authorities rejected the report’s conclusion and argued it did not reflect “the unbearable reality of nine years of incessant and indiscriminate rocket fire on the citizens of Israel.” This is a valid point, but it ignores that the nine years of rocket attacks did not result in other than a handful of deaths. The issue is not whether Israel had a right to defend itself. The issue is the disproportionate number of Gaza civilian deaths in what was supposed to be a military operation.

The Enemy Is The Taliban-Not Afghan Civilians!

The Obama administration is seeking to alter military strategy in Afghanistan by emphasizing the importance of maintaining good relations with civilians and turning the population against the Tabliban. General Stanley McChrystal who has just assumed command, issued a directive ordering officers to avoid fighting in areas where there are many civilians. They are to avoid blasting away at villages because of the presence of a few Taliban. According to a spokesman for McChrystal, “But if there is a compound they’re taking fire from nd they can remove themselves from the area safely, without undue danger to the forces, then that’s the option they should take. Because in there compounds we know there are often civilians kept captive by the Taliban.”

Undoubtedly, the right wing media such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter will be up in arms, but the reality is for every Taliban killed that results in civilian deaths, the Taliban get new recruits. The new policy is consistent with successful anti-guerrilla actions.

American Army Seeks Reducing Civilian Air Deaths

Continued mistakes by planes in their attacks on alleged hiding places of Taliban leaders have all too often resulted in air strikes that resulted in the death of innocent civilians. A May 4th bombing which caused the death of dozens of innocent Afghans has resulted in a new program that will seek to improve coordination between ground troops and the air force in order to end such errors. A new report recommends improved training including making soldiers role play scenarios in which they call for air strikes without leading to the death of civilians. It has become common for ground forces to call for air attacks without ensuring they are absolutely certain Taliban leaders are in particular locations.

The study of the May 4th bombing identifies use of a 2,000 pound bomb on an alleged house that was being used by the Taliban even though it was not certain they were in that location. The plane was told to bomb but dropped the bomb without securing a reconfirmation of the target. It may be necessary in fighting a guerrilla conflict to double and triple check before carrying out such operations.

Stop Killing Civilians In Afghanistan, Says Gates!

The history of the twentieth century is replete with wars in which guerrilla forces confront an army in the struggle as to who will control a country. There is nothing new in Afghanistan which resembles many prior such examples ranging from China to Malaysia, to Vietnam to the Philippines. In each guerrilla war, it is essential for a regular army to win the support of local populations or the conflict will eventually result in a victory for the guerrillas. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is furious at the continued air attacks which too frequently result in the death of some Taliban, but also wind up killing innocent civilians. A result which all too often results in new candidates for the Taliban army. “Every civilian casualty, however caused, is a defeat for the United States and and a setback for the Afghanistan government,” he told his generals.

A problem has been lack of sufficient forces on the ground which has led to calling in air strikes and resulting civilians casualties. General Stanley McChrystal, who has assumed leadership, will shortly have 68,000 American soldiers to go along with 32,000 from our allies. The question remains– is that enough soldiers to do the job?

Admiral Mulllen Mulls About Afghanistan

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is frustrated and determined at the same time. He made clear in a speech given at the Brookings Institution this year is critical in the fight to destroy the Taliban, and each example of mistakes made in bombing enemy sites only results in the enemy gaining a victory, not American forces. “I believe each time we do that(bomb and kill civilians) we put our strategy in jeopardy. We cannot succeed… in Afghanistan by killing Afghan civilians.” The episode at the beginning of the month which resulted in the deaths of over a hundred Afghans including women and children is frustrating Mullen because such mistakes increase the difficulty in defeating the Taliban.

Admiral Mullen is correct– this and next year are critical in defeating the Taliban. If in 2011 the situation is like 2009 the Taliban will have won a major victory. The problem that Mullen refuses to acknowledge is lack of sufficient men on the ground due to the limited number of those serving in the American military. The reality is America needs a modified form of the draft to provide sufficient forces to do the job in Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka Slaughter Goes On

Perhaps, thirty years of bitter civil war can not be forgiven in a few weeks or even years, and the end of fighting in Sri Lanka demonstrates virulent hate continues to exist on both sides of the struggle. Government armed forces pushed even deeper into the last piece of territory still controlled by the rebel Tamil Tigers. Reports from UN medical staff in the besieged pocket indicate hundreds of civilians continue to be killed and wounded as both sides blast away at one another in these concluding moments of a horrible civil war. UN officials are begging the government to halt artillery attacks and for the Tamil Tigers to allow civilians to leave, but each side appears more interested in blaming the other for being violent than halting its own violent attacks.

Reality is both sides are using civilians as shields and could not care how many will die.
Tamil Tigers have reached the end of the rope and are now resorting to suicide attacks since they lack the means to counter-attack or even to repel the oncoming army. Most probably within a few weeks the end will come, not with a bang, but with a whimper of defeat.

Sri Lanka Slaughter Of Civilians Continues

Reports from Sri Lanka indicate that hundreds of civilians have been killed and over a thousand wounded during the recent army attacks to wipe out the last vestiges of insurgent territory. A doctor working in what was designated as a “no-fire-zone” said at least 378 civilians are dead and 1,212 injured during a series of attacks by army forces the previous night. This marks the bloodiest day since the government launched its all-out drive to wipe out the last remnants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) which is fiercely holding onto a sliver of land in the northeast section of the island. In theory, the government ordered civilians to get out of the way, but there is no way they can escape control of rebels.

As usual, the government denies any shelling occurred. The doctors undoubtedly never saw any dead bodies and the wounded were figments of their imagination. The continued lies of the Sri Lanka government simply reveal its inability to conclude the long, bloody, vicious war in a manner that would set the stage for reconciliation.

Sri Lanka Government Ends What It Never Did!

During the past two weeks, the Sri Lanka armed forces have continuously denied employing artillery or heavy weapons in pounding away at trapped members of the Tamil Tigers. Today, it announced it was ending the use of artillery and air strikes which is remarkable given that they have never used such weapons in recent days. “Our security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy caliber guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian casualties.” The United Nations claims that over 6,000 civilians have died since January due to the non-existent bombardment. A doctor working in the “no-fire zone” claims the area is still being bombed. Thangamutha Sathiyamoorthy says there have been nine air strikes in his vicinity during the day.

The Sri Lanka government yesterday rejected an offer by the Tamil Tigers for a cease fire arguing the offer was a “joke,” After decades of fighting and killing it is difficult for anyone to accept the Tamil Tiger claim they seek a cease fire for “humanitarian” reasons. They are whipped, they are defeated, and want a face saving way to surrender. Unfortunately, the struggle has lasted too long and they will not receive any consideration by the government.

Sri Lanka Tragedy Leads To Civilian Deaths

The long civil war which has caused so much death and destruction in Sri Lanka is over. The Tamil Tigers are trapped in a narrow stretch of the northeast portion of the island and are literally fighting for their lives against overwhelming force. Unfortunately, thousands of innocent civilians are caught in the Sri Lanka vise which tightens every day. Artillery continues to pound the encircled area and the UN is pleading for a cease fire in order to allow civilians to flee. The current UN estimate is over six thousand civilians have been killed. However, the Sri Lanka government is exhausted after years of war and death so it intends to go on until their enemy is completely crushed. There is no forgiveness in this government.

India has now become concerned because refugees are fleeing to their shores in search of refuge. The government of India has insisted there must be an immediate cessation of hostilities but it is doubtful their voice will change anything.