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 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.
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.