Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Afghan Govt: US Strike Killed 140 Civilians

Afghan Govt: US Strike Killed 140 Civilians from

An Afghan government commission has concluded that 140 civilians were killed in the United States air strikes in the Farah Province last week

I put this up for several reasons. One is to point out that there is a cost in Obama's escalation in Afghanistan. This story is unique only in the larger than average number of people killed.

Second, it follows a very familiar US military propaganda pattern. First we hear of the event, usually from non-US sources. Stories start to come out about a large number of people killed in a US attack. The first step in the US propaganda campaign is to deny it ever happened. The US military obviously plays for time, so they do this stall first. And probably just hope the story goes away. When the story doesn't go away, they then admit to a lower number of murders, they usually claim that they killed 'terrorists' instead of innocent civilians, and they usually try to blame the other side for somehow faking or creating the massacre.

And lastly, today they tested the local civil defense sirens. Since I didn't know what was going on, I did something I rarely do. I turned on the local TV news. They of course told me nothing about why the sirens were going off. But I did see a story about this massacre on the local ABC affiliate. What was striking was that they referred to this event as a 'battle'. That makes it sound very, very different from what it really was. Especially as a 'battle' would imply that American lives were at risk. It also brings to mind images of a larger, violent, chaotic scene, where it would be more understandable that some civilians might be killed.

What this was instead was a pilot, flying safely overhead and in no danger, following an order to blow up some buildings. Reports are sketchy, but nothing I've seen indicates any fighting going on around the buildings. There are general reports of some other fighting in that part of the province, and apparently enough that the villagers decided to take shelter in these buildings.

This is the price people are paying daily for Obama's 'the right war'. And this is the propaganda we are all constantly exposed to about this 'right war'.

PS ... Afghan President Karsai is calling for the end of air strikes in his country. Imagine the gall of that. Look for the stories out of Washington about how the US isn't happy with Karsai to increase again soon. Don't be surprised if you see that this fall the US is suddenly supporting a new puppet in the Afghan elections.

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