Tag Archives: civilian deaths

Death And Destruction In Sri Lanka Continues

After decades of fighting, the government of Sri Lanka has finally defeated the Tamil Tigers and confined them in a narrow area in the northeast portion of the island. Reports that thousands of innocent civilians were trapped in the narrowing circle of insurgents led to promises there would be a “no-fie zone” to avoid further casualties to the innocent. The Sri Lanka government has not kept its promise and hundreds of civilians are being killed as artillery shells pour into the area and rip apart the bodies of civilians as well as the remaining Tiger forces. Gnana Gunalan, a doctor in the area, notes: “most of the people have shell blast injuries and gunshot injuries. Some people have lost their limbs, others have lost other parts of their body, some people have wounds in the abdomen, some in the chest.”

The Sri Lanka government turned down an appeal by the United Nations to provide more time for the evacuation of civilians. The government now denies anyone wounded to be taken to larger medical facilities away from the “no-fire zone.” Is this the best way to end a civil war– by hate and violence? We suggest the Sri Lanka government read how Abraham Lincoln handled the end of a civil war.

Tamil Tigers In Sri Lanka Kill Their Own People

The Tamil Tigers who have conducted a civil war in Sri Lanka for over two decades are now trapped in a narrow portion at the northern tip of the island. UNICEF reports the rebels are desperate and are forcing civilians to aid them and even recruiting children in order to have more soldiers in their collapsing rebellion. According to UN officials, “we have clear indication that the LTTE has intensified the forcible recruitment of civilians and that children as young as 14 old are now being targeted.” The end is near for the Tamil insurgents and they apparently intend to take down as many civilians and children with them as the noose tightens around them.

Most of the remaining Tamil are in a small area and if civilians attempt to leave the rebels either shoot them or force them to remain behind and become part of the debacle that shortly will engulf those who continue fighting. Those civilians who manage to escape find there are few medical facilities available to care for them and even those are being shelled by both sides.

The curtain is coming down on the Tamil Tigers and it is tragic that a group which claimed to be fighting for their people’s right to have freedom are now killing those same people.

Sri Lanka, The War That Arouses No Protests

A civil war has raged for nearly three decades on the island nation of Sri Lanka in which at least 70,000 have died, but for some reason this slaughter has never captured the interest or imagination of the radical left which is concerned about human rights. Government forces have now pushed the remaining Tamil Tigers into a 142 square mile area in which there are also thousands of innocent civilians, but artillery continues to blast away and hundreds of civilians continue to be killed. There are only some improvised hospitals to care for dozens who daily are wounded or killed as the desperate Tamil guerrillas conduct a last ditch struggle for survival. As General Nadya Nanayakkar notes: “we don’t mind if they are captured or swallow cyanide. They have been a cancer to this country and they must suffer.”

Tamil forces are suffering but so are thousands of civilians who are caught in the cross fire. The International Red Cross says dozens of people daily arrive at makeshift hospitals which lack facilities or trained personnel. Shelling continues on the part of both sides. Yesterday, a Tamil Tiger threw a grenade into a bus as the rebels prefer dying to surrendering.

The United States of America had a civil war in which over 500,000 died, not 70,000. The Lincoln government offered peace and no punishment to those who began the war in order to heal the wounds of battle. This might be good advice for the government of Sri Lanka.

Afghans Furious At US Air Strikes

There is little question the increasing confusion in Afghanistan concerning the correct military strategy to pursue has resulted in growing anger among the average people of that unfortunate land. President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United States for the latest example of planes bombing suspected militant targets only to wind up killing innocent civilians. He charged at least 15 Afghan civilians died in an air strike, and emphasized such operations resulted in “strengthening the terrorists.” The Sunday attack came after a Saturday air strike the US claims killed 15 militants while the Afghans insist many civilians died. American military sources insist they have pictures which depict militants fighting, but refuse to release the photos for security reasons.

The basic problem with the Obama decision to dispatch 30,000 more troops and to continue the current bombing approach is the reality neither of these actions will result in ending the conflict. There is need to win the hearts of Afghan civilians and bombing from above is hardly the way to gain such results. Karzai is a corrupt leader, but air bombing is an unsuccessful approach to fighting a guerrilla war.

Israel Continues Military Operations

The dogs of war when unleashed are difficult to reign in once they get their teeth into the flesh of victims. Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak made clear the Israel Defense Force (IDF) will continue its operations despite attempts by the UN to halt fighting and restore decent living conditions for the Gaza population. He emphasized while Israel respects the UN, “the fighting goes on and he IDF is continuing to apply force.” The Israel argument is they have a right to restore peace in southern areas of their nation and the operation, according to Chief of Staff, General Ashkenazi, “we have achieved exceptional results in damaging Hamas, its infrastructure, and its military wing.” He denied reports that IDF is using white phosphorous bombs.

Israel claims to have destroyed about 70% of the tunnels in Gaza which leaves one wondering why there was need to bomb civilian areas if tunnels were a major focus of the attack. One is also left wondering if Hamas leadership overestimated their ability their ability to deal with an Israel attack. In cases where two parties indulge in constant rhetoric and defiance, the end result is civilians will suffer as are the people of Gaza who are caught in a no man’s land where words of defiance are hurled nonstop until guns begin to blaze and children begin to die. Israel went beyond the limits of a response by killing hundreds of civilians and Hamas went beyond its own capacity to defend Palestinians by seeking a military confrontation that could have been avoided.

In the end, death and destruction results for the innocent.

CEASE FIRE NOW!

The Israel armed forces began its current offense with some justification for dealing with Hamas and the rocket attacks from Gaza, but recent events in which innocent men, women and children have been killed strips any form of legitimacy from Israel actions. The UN clearly identified a school as a site where civilians and children were staying, but Israel tanks and planes bombed the facility and killed at least 40 including many children. There is no question Hamas wanted a military action so it could adopt its ever ready rhetoric of defiance by posing as defenders of Palestinians. However, Israel has now lost any right to claim it was acting in self defense by its ruthless assault on civilians. Undoubtedly, Israel military leaders will argue that Hamas has hidden itself within the civilian population and therefore its armed forces have the right to pound away regardless of the presence of civilians.

There are times in life when one must accept the reality that terrorists lack any sense of moral ethical behavior, but that is no excuse for Israel to pursue the course of killing the innocent on grounds one must kill anyone who is in the vicinity of Hamas. Actually, prior to the land invasion of Gaza, Israel already had proved it could punish Hamas and compel the world to pay attention to rocket attacks. However, by this complete disregard for human life, the Israel armed forces are now behaving in the same manner as Hamas. The Israelis have met the enemy only to discover the “enemy is us.”

There is no excuse anymore– a cease fire must be adopted even if Hamas refuses to go along with it. Israel troops must withdraw from Gaza and allow UN forces to enter and supervise the situation. It is also time for every Arab nation to cease funding Hamas military forces and focus on assisting the civilians who are caught in the middle.

What Really Happened In Afghanistan Civilian Deaths?

Controversy continues as both the Afghanistan government and US military leaders, attempt to unravel the tragic events surrounding the death of over 90 Afghan civilians last month. A spokesperson for President Karzai sharply contradicted the US military version that claims
the August 22nd raid killed up to 35 Taliban fighters. Humayun Hamidzada insists the American operation was based on “total misinformation fed to the coalition forces.” His government believes an individual was involved in a tribal vendetta and supplied misinformation to the Americans. “How the information was gathered, how it was misfed, and their personal animosity led to trying to use the international forces for their own political disputes, which led to a disastrous event and caused a strain on the relationship of the Afghan government and international forces.” The Afghan Interior Ministry says it has arrested three suspects who are believed involved in providing the misinformation.

NATO spokesperson Gen. Richard Blancheete, says the coalition will not talk with villagers once again to avoid harassing them. “We have the facts straight, we have all the information.”

A basic problem confronting fighting the war in Afghanistan is lack of sufficient ground forces and failure to have carried out a training process to create a new Afghanistan army. This has caused the need to rely too frequently to air strikes which invariably result in death of innocent civilians. This is simply another legacy of the misguided Bush policy of failing to finish the job in Afghanistan by going to Iraq.

President Karzai Blasts US And Coalition Forces

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai issued a strong criticism of US and coalition forces for their continued use of air strikes which result in the death of civilians. His comment comes in the wake of a United Nation report which found “convincing evidence” that US-coalition troops and Afghan forces killed 90 civilians including 60 children. Karzai ordered his government ministries to regulate the presence of foreign troops and negotiate an end to “air strikes on civilian targets, uncoordinated searches,and illegal detention of Afghan civilians.” An Afgahn spokesman said the decision was made after his government had “lost patience” with foreign forces who continually rely on air attacks which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Afghan civilians. The UN finding was based on testimony by eyewitnesses that conclusively proved civilians died not the 25 militants claimed by US military sources.

Naturally, the United States insists its military takes precautions to avoid civilian casualties. A basic problem stems from the Bush decision in 2002 to shift forces away from the task of completely wiping out the Taliban in order to get on with his wild ideas concerning WMD in Iraq. An opportunity was lost to crush Taliban forces and the result is six years later civilians are dying.

What Happened?- Civilian Or Militants Dead?

The ongoing war in Afghanistan continues creating ongoing issues as to whether air bombings result in the death of militants or do they cause the death of innocent civilians. On Friday, once again there were opposing views as to who got killed. The Afghanistan Interior Ministry announced: “seventy-six civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred in a coalition forces operation in Herat province.” On the other hand, coalition headquarters claimed the opposite occurred by insisting 30 militants were killed in Shindard province while on patrol. “Insurgents engaged the soldiers from multiple points within the compound using small arms and RPG(rocket propelled grenades)fire . The joint forces responded with small arms fire and an air strike killing 30 militants.”

However, Saeed Shandi, a council member in the town, offered a contrasting view to that of the coalition announcement. “Last nigh at 2:00 a.m. some people were attending a Holy Koran recitation when American started the bombings.” Afghanistan increasingly has all the characteristics of the war in Vietnam when the use of air strikes invariably resulted in the death of civilians. America learned in the 1960s that identifying an “insurgent” while flying hundreds of miles in the sky is rather difficult.

A major factor in Afghanistan fighting is reliance on air strikes which undoubtedly result in mistakes. This is not the way to win the hearts of ordinary people.

Airstrikes In Afghanistan Kill Police And Civilians

American led troops and Afghan forces killed nine Afghan police on Sunday after airstrikes were called in to deal what was originally thought to be militant action. Both sides mistook the other for Taliban militants and exchanged fire. The United States airforce admitted it accidentally killed at least four afghan civilians on Saturday night. In the western province of Farah near the Iranian border, a convoy of foreign forces showed up in the Anar Dara district and clashed with Afghan police, killing nine of them. Local officials insisted coalition forces had not told them they were coming to the town and when the police saw them fighting broke out. As the fight proceeded during the day and into the night, coalition forces called in airstrikes and the result was death to Afghan police.

The confused guerrilla style warfare now going on in Afghanistan requires considerable more troops on the ground. The lack of such forces makes it even more imperative that coalition forces are prone to call for airstrikes when encountering opposing troops. This is but one aspect of the increasing series of mistakes which have resulted in the death of civilians and Afghan police. Each time there is such an incident, it increases civilian anger toward coalition forces as well as towards their own government.