Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bless you, Mr. Blum

From Bill Blum's Anti-empire Report of July 9th:

The United States and its wholly owned subsidiary, NATO, regularly drop bombs on Afghanistan which kill varying amounts of terrorists (or "terrorists", also known as civilians, also known as women and children).

...[U]S/NATO spokespersons tell us that these unfortunate accidents happen because the enemy is deliberately putting civilians in harm's way to provoke a backlash against the foreign forces. We are told at times that the enemy had located themselves in the same building as the victims, using them as "human shields". Therefore, it would seem, the enemy somehow knows in advance that a particular building is about to be bombed and they rush a bunch of civilians to the spot before the bombs begin to fall. Or it's a place where civilians normally live and, finding out that the building is about to be bombed, the enemy rushes a group of their own people to the place so they can die with the civilians. Or, what appears to be much more likely, the enemy doesn't know of the bombing in advance, but then the civilians would have to always be there; i.e., they live there; they may even be the wives and children of the enemy. Is there no limit to the evil cleverness and the clever evilness of this foe?

Western officials also tell us that the enemy deliberately attacks from civilian areas, even hoping to draw fire to drive a wedge between average Afghans and international troops. Presumably the insurgents are attacking nearby Western military installations or troop concentrations. This raises the question: Why are the Western forces building installations and/or concentrating troops near civilian areas, deliberately putting civilians in harm's way?

...[D]uring its many bombings from Vietnam to Iraq, Washington has repeatedly told the world that the resulting civilian deaths were accidental and very much "regretted". But if you go out and drop powerful bombs over a populated area, and then learn that there have been a number of "unintended" casualties, and then the next day drop more bombs and learn again that there were "unintended" casualties, and then the next day you bomb again ... at what point do you lose the right to say that the deaths were "unintended"?

And here's the TomDispatch report:

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