Monday, September 15, 2008

Why are we in Afghanistan?

US airstrike that killed 90 Afghan civilians based on false tip
"Afghan police arrested three people and accused them of providing the false tip that led to last month’s disastrous US air strike in Herat Province which a UN investigation determined killed at least 90 civilians and strained ties between NATO forces and the Afghan government.

The US claimed to have targeted and killed a known militant commander in the strike along with 30 militants, but villagers insist that the information that led to the strike was provided to the US by a rival tribesman named Nader Tawakil, whom the US has placed under protective custody.

After the incident, the United States denied that civilians were killed and accused villagers who spoke of the higher death tolls of spreading “outrageous Taliban propaganda“. They continued their denials well after both the United Nations and several investigations by the Afghan government all found similar numbers of slain civilians, but promised to “review” its initial claims after a video emerged showing a large number of dead civilians in the village mosque in the wake of the attack."

NYTimes : "The operation, conducted by U.S. Special Forces and Afghan soldiers, targeted Afghan employees of a British security firm and their family members."

This sad story serves as a microcosm for the whole Afghanistan adventure - the invasion of a country based on a pretext, lies about military success amid the mounting civilian casualties, the reframing of the invasion as a mission of peacekeeping in which the recipients of our largesse refuse to co-operate.

Remind me, why are we in Afghanistan?

Whitehouse press conference, Sept 10, 2008 :
Q But Osama bin Laden is the one that -- you keep talking about his lieutenants, and, yes, they are very important, but Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11 --
MS. PERINO: No, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11, and he's sitting in jail right now.

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