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U.S. aircraft attack local Afghan wedding...
July 1, 2002 1:01 PM   Subscribe

U.S. aircraft attack local Afghan wedding... several were injured and killed, such as Haji Mohammed Anwar, a friend of President Hamid Karzai. But, we've seen this before.
posted by Dean_Paxton (38 comments total)

 
Friendly fire casualties are not a new thing in this or, any other conflict. However, in light of smart weapons, smart equipment, superior intelligence and surveillance, is it appropriate to question the military about matters such as this? Having been in similar situations myself, I find myself unable to not question a field commanders judgement.

Can there be any excuse that is plausible for such action?
posted by Dean_Paxton at 1:02 PM on July 1, 2002


"Can there be any excuse that is plausible for such action?"

Only that mistakes happen, war is hell, and other tired cliches. Hell, we bombed some Canadians. Yes, the military should be (and will be, and is) questioned about these matters. But war will never be antiseptic.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:10 PM on July 1, 2002


Well, several of the wedding bombings were due to the fact that Afghans traditionally fire guns (you know, the family Kalishnikov) into the air as part of the wedding celebration. This registers as "live fire" to our aircraft and has a bad tendency to attract large, explosive bombs. Despite repeated warnings from the US, many rural Afghans continue firing ordinance during celebrations.

Apparantly this wasn't the case with the most recent wedding bombing though. I'm still waiting for the official line from Washington.
posted by junkbox at 1:14 PM on July 1, 2002


pardonyou: That sounds a bit too glib to me. If there are going to be wedding causalities, the least you could do is not tell people that Al Queda is regrouping elsewhere in the world and again poses a threat and blah blah. Otherwise, what are you doing in Afghanistan, accidentally killing wedding-goers? You better have a better explanation.
posted by raysmj at 1:17 PM on July 1, 2002


Mistakes are made in war as in everything else. The cost tends to be a bit higher. There should be no recess from culpability, however. A careful analysis of incidents like these can result in lessons learned that can prevent future recurrences, whether they result from poor intelligence, precipitous action or altered circumstances due to unforeseen and uncontrollable factors.
posted by rushmc at 1:17 PM on July 1, 2002


There is nothing more dangerous to our national security as a bunch of farmers getting married.
posted by luriete at 1:18 PM on July 1, 2002


Despite repeated warnings from the US, many rural Afghans continue firing ordinance during celebrations.

On what authority does the U.S. expect to limit the behavior of Afghan citizens in this manner? Surely the responsibility for distinguishing between a "celebration" and a "raiding party" falls upon the U.S., whose role and authority in the country is, now more than ever, ill-defined and uncertain.
posted by rushmc at 1:21 PM on July 1, 2002



Despite repeated warnings from the US, many rural Afghans continue firing ordinance during celebrations.

Here in Los Angeles, despite repeated warnings on radio, tv, and billboards, every fourth of july, new year's eve, laker's victory, etc., stupid people fire their guns into the air. And this is in a major city where the falling bullets can do real damage on their way down, not out in the middle of nowhere. I somehow doubt we're going to have any better luck eliminating this pratice in rural Afghanistan, where don't really have a lot of tv's and radios and the population is mostly illiterate. Although, if we keep destroying their villages, maybe they'll "get the message."
posted by electro at 1:32 PM on July 1, 2002


Authority of having superior intelligence, coordination and will to kill.
posted by adnanbwp at 1:33 PM on July 1, 2002


They said the attack began about 2 a.m. and lasted for about two hours. A nurse at the Kandahar hospital, Sher Mohammed, said he heard that about 120 people were killed.

I'm sorry if innocent people were killed, but as this quote from the linked story shows-All the facts aren't in, obviously. Are 2 Am weddings common in rural Afghanistan?
posted by quercus at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2002


Not that it justifies the US' actions or absolves the responsibilty of the US in this matter, but if you told me that firing into the air was going to increase the likelihood of having a bomb dropped on me, I think I might pass on that little celebration activity for a while, or at least until the US got out of my country. Like throwing rocks at tanks, it just doesn't sound like that productive of an activity (to me anyway....).
posted by stifford at 1:41 PM on July 1, 2002


Are 2 Am weddings common in rural Afghanistan?

Are wedding reception parties lasting until 2 am common in America?
posted by insomnyuk at 1:42 PM on July 1, 2002


Not really
posted by quercus at 1:44 PM on July 1, 2002


Are 2 Am weddings common in rural Afghanistan?

Googling for 'afghan weddings' might have answered that one:

"A traditional Afghan wedding usually begins around 6 in the evening and ends as long as the hall agreement allows them."

An Afghan wedding is an all night celebration. It usually starts around 7:00 to 8:00 PM, and runs to well into the morning hours. I have never been to a daytime Afghan wedding, so I must assume they are all held at night.

Saturday night, after yet another 18-hour workday, I couldn't sleep because of all the sound of gunfire in the neighborhood... Sunday morning, I learned that the gunfire was celebratory; there had been several wedding celebrations last night. Many families here still fire their guns in the air during weddings; they also shoot and shout joyously toward the heavens to celebrate the birth of a son.
posted by riviera at 1:48 PM on July 1, 2002


nice recon, riviera :)
posted by stifford at 1:53 PM on July 1, 2002


Better recon than the U.S. military... *cough*
posted by insomnyuk at 2:04 PM on July 1, 2002


Maybe the pilot was just trying to keep old ladies from doing The Macerena.
posted by bondcliff at 2:31 PM on July 1, 2002


While such casualties are indeed sadly par for the war-zone course, I hope we remunerate the survivors handsomely in the interest of goodwill.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:11 PM on July 1, 2002


I was surprised to see on a BBC news report that a B52 bomber was involved. But I was under the impression that an airstrike was called to support troops supposedly under fire. Isn't a B52 overkill?!?
posted by kaemaril at 4:15 PM on July 1, 2002


Isn't a B52 overkill?!?

I guess it depends on whether you're the one being fired at.
posted by billman at 4:37 PM on July 1, 2002


Haji Mohammed Anwar, a friend of President Hamid Karzai

Hamid Karzai was also injured by coalition bombs early on in the Afghan campaign.
posted by skallas at 4:46 PM on July 1, 2002


If Afghans marry, the terrorists have won.
posted by alumshubby at 6:06 PM on July 1, 2002


Authority of having superior intelligence, coordination and will to kill.
posted by adnanbwp at 1:33 PM PST on July 1


Joke, right?
2 out of three ain't there, adnan.

Was i t Ghandi said "Military Intelligence" is a contradiction in terms?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:28 PM on July 1, 2002


No it was Groucho Marx.

Yet, isn't "friendly fire" a contradiction in terms too?
posted by Dean_Paxton at 8:37 PM on July 1, 2002


Interesting Riviera. Thanks for checking it out. Meanwhile-it seems this whole story is going down the memory hole-I thought it would be bigger news and we'd have more facts by now, but it appears already overrun by other events. Also somewhat disturbing is the apparent fact that, absent the apparently errant bomb, our sortie would get no press. I was surprised to learn of the operations we are still carrying on over there.
posted by quercus at 8:47 PM on July 1, 2002


Are you implying that U.S. news outlets are giving the military a free pass on the killing of innocents? I'm shocked.
posted by Optamystic at 9:39 PM on July 1, 2002


What's everyone acting so surprised about? This is war. It's only a few more dozen dead Afghans.
posted by skylar at 1:07 AM on July 2, 2002


I cannot fucking believe some of you are making light of this. (alumshubby) Jokes. Fun. Great--safe to do in your American bungalow fun!

This "mistake" is case in point why war, greed and statist propaganda is abominable. I don't care what the reason is. Mistakes do not entail the horrific carnage of wedding celebrants. This is a mistake that I hope makes he, who equally made light of other's lives by thinking dropping tons of explosives on a blotch of people on the surface of the Earth was okay to do, spend the rest of his days in misery. That we're At War is no excuse. This is why the plotted destiny of humanity that American Imperialism writes as it goes, is nothing more than a cancer.

You wanna know why they hate us?

We don't fucking care even when this news breaks.
posted by crasspastor at 1:13 AM on July 2, 2002


Mistakes do not entail the horrific carnage of wedding celebrants.

Why are you making this kind of thing sound rare? War creates tragic mistakes like this on a regular basis. I think our new videogame-style, long-distance warfare makes it even more commonplace.
posted by rcade at 6:22 AM on July 2, 2002


rcade: You want to back up the statement, "It happens all the time," with actual facts? Wedding parties are bombed all the time? Then why is the U.S. apologizing, and not using the hyper-glib, "This happens all the time and it's war," excuse?
posted by raysmj at 8:04 AM on July 2, 2002


I'm not offering it as an excuse or a rationalization. I'm appalled by the recklessness of this bombing. Big hint: Someone who talks about "videogame-style, long distance warfare" is probably not in favor of it.
posted by rcade at 9:12 AM on July 2, 2002


Then why is the U.S. apologizing, and not using the hyper-glib, "This happens all the time and it's war," excuse?

I'm guessing it probably plays better overseas.
posted by rushmc at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2002


Well, heck - now it sounds like it wasn't an accident at all. Should we start another thread?
posted by yhbc at 9:28 AM on July 2, 2002


The lack of accountability or responsibility from US armed forces has always amazed me. Do they think that a little pentagon doublespeak will just make it all better? When we blow up a school or a hospital, it's called a 'soft target.' Bomb a refugee camp and dead civilians are just 'collateral damages.' Don't get me started on 'friendly fire.' This kind of language just distracts the American public from thinking about what our tax dollars are really paying for: demolishing villages and terrorizing civilians to make way for Unocal's new oil pipeline.

Perhaps the armchair generals out there will never consider the effects of our 'war on terrorism' in human terms. But if a few more people are willing to ask the tough questions, some of them might come around.
posted by snakey at 10:35 AM on July 2, 2002


Americans, of course, demanded that someone had to pay for September 11. Well, in our name, vengeance continues to be exacted upon someone.

One nation, under God, indivisible, with napalm and cluster bombs for all.

So very godly.

Leaving aside this latest example of military precision and heroism, whether any of those killed in our name over the entire course of this miserable, putrid little "war" had anything to do with those killed in New York remains to be seen. Unsurprising. War is the ultimate stupidity...and this particular bout of idiocy contines with the full and fervent support of flag-decaled fools.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:03 PM on July 2, 2002


Dear God in Heaven, I completely agree with fold_and_mutilate.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:35 PM on July 2, 2002


panty waists, all yas.
posted by clavdivs at 6:37 AM on July 3, 2002


just kidding. this seems to flesh out two ways. innocent small arms fire (whoops, sorry about that) or someone being fired upon. the later seems more realistic. the response militarily was, to say the least, massive....perhaps a bit to much. The military commanders response, was it harsh, massive or what ever term is used?. reports abound of ack-ack fire(?). Now some KALIs at a wedding party is one thing, AA fire is another even if it were 100 rounds or less. One 'paints' oneself when using AA (radar and all). Perhaps this is something the Afghans did not understand. The official Afghan statement seems very moderate yet firm , a real diplomatic victory for the new gov't. If AA was used, the military commanders response was appropriate IMO. But the question of loss of life is greater. The rules of engagement don't seem in question as far as the military is concerned. Expressing the loss of life is as Rumy stated.
posted by clavdivs at 7:58 AM on July 3, 2002


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