Afghanistan Civilian Deaths
September 8, 2008 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Some new and disturbing footage following an air raid on Azizabad seems to be forcing the US military to do a U-turn on civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

The US claims that only seven civilians died, while Afghan and UN officials say the death toll is closer to 90. The cell phone camera footage will be part of "new evidence" considered in the reopening and review of the investigation into the events of the Azizaban air strike. Human Rights Watch claims that overall civilian deaths have nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007 to at least 321 fatalities, while the International Red Cross has called for greater precautions against indiscriminate killings.
posted by vodkaboots (37 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 


Greater precautions? How about a ban on indiscriminate killings?
posted by crapmatic at 4:57 PM on September 8, 2008


A ban?? Please be serious. I think a threat of a Sternly Worded Letter will set this to rights.
posted by DU at 5:05 PM on September 8, 2008


We had to obliterate that village in order to save it err... us... uh... nobody?
posted by basicchannel at 5:12 PM on September 8, 2008


Was there a wedding going on? Usually there's always a wedding.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:13 PM on September 8, 2008


Notice that it's always deny, deny, deny unless there's a picture, then some faces go red, the poor dears.

Let's review again, friends: what was the lesson of Abu Ghraib? NO CAMERAS!!
posted by Artful Codger at 5:17 PM on September 8, 2008


Artful Codger writes "Let's review again, friends: what was the lesson of Abu Ghraib? NO CAMERAS!!"

Short of saturation bombing that's tough to enforce when you are just zooming overhead dropping bomb and mines.
posted by Mitheral at 5:21 PM on September 8, 2008


Good point. No wonder some want to ban camera-phones.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:24 PM on September 8, 2008


From the Times:
The Pentagon’s original investigation concluded last week that US forces used close air support after coming under heavy fire during a mission to seize a Taleban commander named Mullah Sadiq. They allege that he died in the operation.

The US military said that its findings were corroborated by an independent journalist embedded with the US force. He was named as the Fox News correspondent Oliver North, who came to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair, when he was an army colonel.
posted by stammer at 5:45 PM on September 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Nothing to see here, move along. Ollie was there. He saw flowers and candy. Nothing more. Army colonel? Now he's pissed. See what you did? USA! USA! USA!
posted by jsavimbi at 5:52 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


About f’ing time. War should be in people’s faces. Folks should know exactly what it entails to go to war, to be behind it, to prosecute it - cameras should be everywhere. It should scare the living hell out of people. It should make them sick. They should empathize with folks on the other end of the spear.

Instead it’s been sanitized to the point we don’t show even our own dead. Not to be even reminded of them except in some abstract hero worship that involves bunting and people staring up and smiling and planes flying over and this no one is ever hurt or killed A-Team t.v. b.s and proud moms who we never see getting up five times in the middle of the night to screaming because their kid can’t get the dust and the heat and the blood guilt out of his mind. And everyone is surprised, because isn’t the enemy evil?

Less indiscriminate killings? That’d mean more infantry combat and less bombing. And more of our guys getting killed. We can’t have that, not in a democracy!

Independent journalist Ollie North, man, you couldn’t even make that up.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:59 PM on September 8, 2008 [7 favorites]


oh. so awful.

.
posted by nickyskye at 6:15 PM on September 8, 2008


Your tax dollars at work people. The thing that sickens me most is how frequent this is. How many wedding parties (fucking WEDDING PARTIES!) have to be blown to bits before our military and its Codmander in Chief gives a shit? Pardon my french but this really pisses me off. Is there no non-politicized military intelligence in Afghanistan that can evaluate targets? I have to quote X here:

"The facts we hate: we'll never meet walking down the road.
Everybody yelling "hurry up!" "hurry up!"
But i'm waiting for you, I must go slow.
I must not think bad thoughts.
When is this world coming to?
Both sides are right but both sides murder.
I give up; why can't they?
I must not think bad thoughts.
The civil wars and the uncivilized wars.
conflagrations leap out of every poor furnace.
The food cooks poorly and everyone goes hungry.
from then on it's dog eat dog, dog eat body, & body eat dog.
I can't go down there. I can't understand it.
I'm a no good coward & an american too.
A north american, that is not a south or a central.
Or a native american.
Oh i must not think bad thoughts.
I'm guilty of murder of innocent men,
innocent women, innocent children, thousands of them!
My planes, my guns, my money, my soldiers, my blood on my
hands, it's all my fault! I must not think bad thoughts "

Maybe when an unmanned shiite predator drone blows up Bristol Palin's shotgun wedding party America might notice how totally fubar this is. Robot killer airplanes blowing up mothers in law. What a freak show of a comic book plot we have become.
posted by jetsetsc at 6:44 PM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Re: Hearts and Minds.

We want to win them, not blow them all over the place.
posted by Mick at 7:25 PM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


The thing that sickens me most is how frequent this is.

I can only imagine. For every one you hear about (because there was footage), how many does it represent that you don't?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:40 PM on September 8, 2008


I recently made the mistake of engaging in a 140-character Twitter debate with a dittohead who declared "foreign nationals caught trying to kill us in Afghanistan should be put in Gulags" and realized that his kind had extended the definition of "terrorists" to include soldiers fighting in their own homeland. From that, a total lack of regard for the lives of civilians in foreign lands is a very very small step.
posted by wendell at 7:58 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


The US military said that its findings were corroborated by an independent journalist embedded with the US force. He was named as the Fox News correspondent Oliver North, who came to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair, when he was an army colonel.

1) Lt. Colonel.
2) USMC, not Army
3) Of course. Covering DoD Ass is what Ollie Does Best!

Jesus Fucking Christ. Why don't we fucking dig up Ronnie and have him outlaw Iran? We've got every other asshole from that administration involved!
posted by eriko at 8:48 PM on September 8, 2008


Ollie...really? I'm starting to wonder if the first woman president won't be one of the bush girls going after Iraq War III, it all just seems to keep repeating.
posted by nomisxid at 8:52 PM on September 8, 2008


God, this is sickening. These people have nowhere to hide. The majority of homes are built out watered mixed with mud, what's left of them, that is.
posted by nikitabot at 9:03 PM on September 8, 2008


...US military to do a U-turn on civilian deaths in Afghanistan. they can mow them down a second time...
" Here comes the helicopter, second time today. Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away...."
posted by hortense at 9:13 PM on September 8, 2008


That didn't happen! (Unless you have secret blurry video)

My outrage meter has trouble going off over thing likes this anymore. It's war people, what did we think was going to happen.

About f’ing time. War should be in people’s faces. Folks should know exactly what it entails to go to war, to be behind it, to prosecute it - cameras should be everywhere.

Absolutely. Until this fascination/hero worship of the military ends in this country I am afraid we will only see more of this, or actually, we probably won't see. Allowing us to delude ourselves into thinking that those aren't real people we're blasting with molten shrapnel on the ground. And forget about saying what actually happened, the troops didn't kill them, God no, it was the terrorists. Sigh.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:17 PM on September 8, 2008


realized that his kind had extended the definition of "terrorists" to include soldiers fighting in their own homeland

I wonder if authors of speculative fiction are having trouble with the age old tropes breaking down. If "and we were the invaders!" isn't a story-ending zing, what are we left with?

Look for me with apathy at your nearest soylent distribution center.

on preview: sorry to say, IvoShandor, that the terrorists have just one thing right: America will not come to grips with the reality of war until it is on American soil. That's just the way it is. Footage can only bridge the gap if you're willing to take the mental leap into there but for the grace.... Most people in comfort can't or won't do that.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:53 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wedding parties? Hell, put yourself in the the most neo-con warmongerish frame of mind you can handle. Masturbate while looking at pictures of tanks, or while thinking about how much stock you have in Boeing and Raytheon or whatever. I'll wait.

OK, all hawked out?

They don't appear to have done diddly-fuck about it when they've repeatedly blown the shit out of their own heavily armed allies.
Why would they do something about it when they kill a bunch of locals who they've spent the better part of a decade dehumanizing.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:48 PM on September 8, 2008


Was there a wedding going on? Usually there's always a wedding.

It may not help that they traditionally fire guns into the air as a form of celebration.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:15 PM on September 8, 2008


America will not come to grips with the reality of war until it is on American soil. That's just the way it is.

Yeah, you're probably right. Perhaps that's why so many Europeans were so reluctant to support the fiasco in Iraq.

It may not help that they traditionally fire guns into the air as a form of celebration.

Um, since it's so traditional, shouldn't those dropping 500 pound bombs be more fully aware of the fact that they may be dropping them on weddings then? I understand the huge threat that small arms pose to supersonic aircraft and all . . . . I mean, what?
posted by IvoShandor at 11:28 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ahhhhh.....Oliver North; both independent journalist and scumbag.
– “There is no such thing as an Islamic moderate.”
– "Every terrorist out there is hoping John Kerry Is the next president of the United States"
– Politicians who raise the issue of Abu Ghraib “have blood on their hands.”
– Abuse of Iraqi prisoners is “the kind of thing that you might find on any college campus.”
posted by adamvasco at 11:45 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


As I was raiding Azizabad
I bombed a man with seven dads
And every dad had seven shacks
And every shack had seven wives
And every wife had seven kiddies
Kiddies, wives, shacks, dads,
How many were bombed in Azizabad?

posted by Meatbomb at 12:49 AM on September 9, 2008


sebastienbailard: It may not help that they traditionally fire guns into the air as a form of celebration.

Iraq, Kentucky Vie For World Shooting-Into-The-Air Supremacy
posted by nfg at 3:01 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Arrgh. ... out of watered ... Apologies for a really lame typo.
posted by nikitabot at 7:36 AM on September 9, 2008


As a Canadian, I'm glad we were not involved with the invasion and subsequent illegal occupation of Iraq, but I did see the necessity of participating in the UN sanctioned invasion of Afghanistan back in 2001.

Still, it seemed that every Canadian soldier who lost his or her life in Afghanistan, was proving, in blood, how we supported the United States; Canadians shouldn't have to prove ourselves like this.

Still, the mission - providing security in Afghanistan in order to help the country rebuild - seemed just and good and necessary. Failure would mean a collapse into a failed state that would be a safe harbour for terrorists.

But as the war has dragged on, it's obvious that there are too few resources (ie, troops) on the ground to make a meaningful difference, and the international community and even NATO itself are indifferent to the future of the country. As well, more and more, Canadians are not only fighting "the Taliban", but are also in conflict with covert elements of the Pakistan military.

This FPP is just a reminder of how brutal and bloody this senseless war is.

It's one thing to wage a protracted campaign that is well organized and focussed on an end goal (victory, the establishment of a strong state that can defend itself and help enhance the quality of life of its people).

It's another thing for Canada to continually commit resources to a campaign that is poorly managed and basically fucked up - it seems likely that, no matter what, there will be a constant state of war in Afghanistan for at least another decade. It is not hard to see how the Taliban, despite our best efforts, will most likely win.

So why not bring the troops home.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:55 AM on September 9, 2008


The US military said that its findings were corroborated by an independent journalist embedded with the US force. He was named as the Fox News correspondent Oliver North, who came to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair, when he was an army colonel.

It took be a good ten minutes to come up with a response for this.


"WHAT"


is the best I could do without resorting to weeping and mashing the keyboard randomly.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:34 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]














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