Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Justifying Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan

It never ceases to amaze me that military spokespeople can spew talking points full of denial and actually believe that others are too dense to see right through them.

How else can you interpret a statement like this - knowing that 90 Afghan civilians were killed last week in botched air strikes and ground combat?

We think the procedures that we have in place are good -- they work," he [U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Joseph Votel, NATO's deputy commander in eastern Afghanistan] told reporters at the Pentagon by videolink from Bagram Air Base near Kabul.

No - they don't, obviously.

And he added that "NATO forces had intentionally fired into Pakistan in one recent incident said to have resulted in the killing of civilians."

Now, think of all of the times the US has scolded other countries militaries or insurgent groups for crossing a national border. Think of Israel's response to Hezbollah soldiers crossing over from Lebanon last year and the revenge war that sparked. Yet, the US military has absolutely no qualms about killing Pakistani civilians while insisting that their methods to avoid civilian casualties "work".

Pakistani officials say 10 civilians were killed in the strikes in North Waziristan, opposite Afghanistan's Paktika province. Pakistan publicly urges foreign forces not to carry out operations on its territory or using its airspace.

And note:

Pakistan has said that NATO has apologized for the strike and told Pakistani officials the firing was inadvertent.

Inadvertent? Bullshit.

Addressing an incident last week in the border area with Pakistan, Votel said the local NATO commander had taken action after identifying a sizable group of insurgents that had come across the frontier into Afghanistan.

"The commander on the ground determined that he needed to continue to address that threat until it was eliminated, and that included firing into areas that were in Pakistan," he said.

Every time they open their mouths, they lie.

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