Tag Archives: civilians

The Non-Ending Civil War In Sri Lanka

The ending process of a civil war is as important as the origin of such a conflict. At the conclusion of the American Civil War which had resulted in the death of over 500,000 men, President Abraham Lincoln decided forgiveness and trust was the best way to heal the nation’s wounds. The Sri Lanka government has won its civil war as remaining insurgents are trapped in a narrow area in the northeast sector of the island. Sri Lanka’s president rejected calls from the United Nations for a cease fire which would allow civilians to escape from the firing zone. According to the UN’s satellite images, air strikes and artillery fire continue to hit areas which contain over 50,00 civilians whose only goal is to escape the chaos and destruction.

Sri Lanka pledged earlier in the week to end use of artillery and air attacks, but evidence from the UN satellite reveals ongoing bombing. Nearly 6,500 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the year since they are unable to escape the fighting zone. There is no question the Tamil Tigers are hypocrites in now seeking a cease fire, but the interests of civilians should take precedence over anger toward the Tamil Tigers who already have enough blood on their hands.

The End Draws Near In Sri Lanka War

One of the world’s longest conflicts is drawing to an end on the island of Sri Lanka as government troops have pushed the rebel Tamil Tigers into a small enclave in the northeast section of the island. Over 70,000 have died in this twenty five year civil war which has caused untold deaths by suicide bombers and dislocation of life. The United Nations says that thousands of innocent civilians are trapped inside the enclave along with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who apparently do not wish to quietly exist the stage of violence. Naturally, the rebels claim civilians wish to remain so they can get killed. Why is it that those who claim to be defending the rights of people invariably ensure the people they are protecting wind up dead?

Hopefully, leaders of Sri Lanka can take note of how Abraham Lincoln ended the American Civil War. He granted amnesty to just about all rebels and encouraged them to return to their homes and once again engage in farming and commerce. This is not the time for terrible retribution against those who rebelled.

Who Gets Killed In US Missile Attacks?

The United States military employs unmanned drones which fly over regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan in search of militants. The essential concept in this approach to warfare is that those at a base know where the “militants” are located and thus when missiles strike they supposedly kill the “bad people.” Of course, during the Vietnam war, American military commanders were under pressure to “kill Vietcong” and whomever the local commander said was a “Vietcong,” was one. Perhaps, the same problem is now occurring in Pakistan when drones land on a house. Last week, American military commanders assured the world that drone strikes had killed 22 suspected foreign militants. Local people assert many civilians were also killed in the bombing.

There is growing anger in Afghanistan and Pakistan about these raids.If Vietnam is any model, an approach that relies on air strikes to kill “suspects” will be incorrect a large percent of time. Ground forces are more effective in being able to clearly identify enemy and kill them. The air program is one doomed to create new recruits for the Taliban.

Civilians Die In Sri Lanaka’s Unseen War

In an age of instant communication and sharing of information, nations are still able to conduct military operations in secret as witness the Israel invasion of Gaza. Another example of preventing the press from uncovering what is happening in a war is now transpiring in Sri Lanka where thousands of civilians are trapped in the fight between government troops and the Tamil rebels. Dozens of civilians are dying because there is no process to allow them to get out of fighting zones to the safety of more secure areas. The government rejected a British proposal to send a special envoy who would work with both sides to ensure the safety of civilians and find a way to draw the fighting to a conclusion. “It is tantamount to an intrusion into Sri Lanka’s internal affairs and is disrespectful to the country’s statehood” exclaimed the foreign ministry.

The Sri Lanka government made clear to the United Kingdom it jeopardized relations by raising issues of special envoys to assist civilians and help end the fighting. Actually, the British effort was mainly concerned with helping civilians and dealing with issues such as the lack of adequate medical facilities. Journalists have not ben allowed in the fighting area so no one knows what is actually happening to civilians or the quality of medical care.

Afghans Die, Who Were They?

Sis Afghans were killed in a night raid by American forces. This,in itself, is not significant news since thousands have been killed in night attacks, but the similarity to issues that were common in the Vietnam War continue to emerge. During the Vietnam war, the expression, “body count” signified pressure on US military leaders to kill people, particularly if one’s superiors were demanding dead bodies. The main problem in guerrilla style war is determining who represents the “enemy” and who doesn’t. An Afghan deputy governor, Gulad Shah Alikheil, said they were merely a civilian family and of the six, four were brothers. Alta Mohammad, a tribal leader, said “they were civilians. They were farmers. They were not Taliban.”

A basic problem confronting US or coalition forces is the inept and corrupt Afghan government of President Karzai. This has led to people using American forces to settle disputes. It is relatively easy, just tell Coalition forces that person “X” is a Taliban militant, and there goes another life. The problem must be solved at the beginning– ensure there is an honest and effective Afghan government. If not, we will not know in many cases whether the dead were Taliban of just “farmers.”

Human Rights Watch Blasts US Military On Civilian Deaths

Human Rights Watch issued a blistering attack on US and NATO policies which rely extensively on air strikes in order to destroy Taliban forces in Afghanistan. In the first seven months of this year at least 450 Afghan civilians were killed in fighting related to armed conflict and at least 119 of these were killed by air strikes conducted by US or Coalition forces. “In response to increased insurgent activity, twice as many tons of bombs were dropped in 2007 than in 2006″ but the increase has become even more dramatic in 2008. The Human Rights Watch report believes “mistakes by the US and NATO have dramatically decreased public support for the Afghan government and the presence of international forces providing security to Afghans.”

The report also blamed American investigation of their own air strikes as “unilateral, ponderous and lacking in transparency, undercutting relations with local populations and the Afghan government.” Naturally, the United States government denies it ever makes mistakes. The Bush administration lied about the Iraq invasion and simply can not cease their lies.