Cursor.org – 2007-03-02 22:59:34
A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States’ Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan
A Comprehensive Accounting [revised]
Departments of Economics and Women’s Studies_McConnell Hall_Whittemore School of Business & Economics_University of New Hampshire_Durham, N.H. 03824
• For the complete report, Click Here.
“What causes the documented high level of civilian casualties — 3,000 – 3,400 [October 7, 2001 through March 2002] civilian deaths — in the US air war upon Afghanistan?
The explanation is the apparent willingness of US military strategists to fire missiles into and drop bombs upon, heavily populated areas of Afghanistan.”
(…) This dossier makes six major points.
• First, the US bombing upon Afghanistan has been a low bombing intensity, high civilian casualty campaign [in both absolute terms and relative to other US air campaigns].
• Secondly, this has happened notwithstanding the far greater accuracy of the weapons because of US military planners decisions to employ powerful weapons in populated regions and to bomb what are dubious military targets.
• Thirdly, the US mainstream corporate media has been derelict in its non-reporting of civilian casualties when ample evidence existed from foreign places that the US air war upon Afghanistan was creating such casualties in large numbers.
• Fourthly, the decision by US military planners to execute such a bombing campaign reveals and reflects the differential values they place upon Afghan and American lives.
• Fifth, this report counters the dangerous notion that the United States can henceforth wage a war and only kill enemy combatants.
• Sixth, the US bombing campaign has targeted numerous civilian facilities and the heavy use of cluster bombs, will have a lasting legacy born by one of the poorest, most desperate peoples of our world. In sum, though not intended to be, the US bombing campaign which began on the evening of October 7th, has been a war upon the people, the homes, the farms and the villages of Afghanistan, as well as upon the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Excerpt from the Report
Mantra of the US mainstream corporate media : “The report cannot be independently verified”
“..shameful dependence on and uncritical acceptance of Pentagon handouts instead of substantial, critical coverage of the ground situation in Afghanistan. The US corporate media seems to be muting any talk of civilian casualties first by framing any such news with “Taliban claims that….” And then happily putting the matter to rest with Pentagon spokesman…” ” — [Joel Lee, Hyderabad, Znet Inter Active]
“When people decry civilian deaths caused by the U.S. government, they’re aiding propaganda efforts. In sharp contrast, when civilian deaths are caused by bombers who hate America, the perpetrators are evil and those deaths are tragedies.
When they put bombs in cars and kill people, they’re uncivilized killers. When we put bombs on missiles and kill people, we’re upholding civilized values. When they kill, they’re terrorists. When we kill, we’re striking against terror.”4
What causes the documented high level of civilian casualties — 3,000 – 3,400 civilian deaths — in the U.S. air war upon Afghanistan? The explanation is the apparent willingness of U.S. military strategists to fire missiles into and drop bombs upon, heavily populated areas of Afghanistan.
A legacy of the ten years of civil war during the 80s is that many military garrisons and facilities are located in urban areas where the Soviet-backed government had placed them since they could be better protected there from attacks by the rural mujahideen. Successor Afghan governments inherited these emplacements.
To suggest that the Taliban used ‘human shields’ is more revealing of the historical amnesia and racism of those making such claims, than of Taliban deeds. Anti-aircraft emplacements will naturally be placed close by ministries, garrisons, communications facilities, etc.
A heavy bombing onslaught must necessarily result in substantial numbers of civilian casualties simply by virtue of proximity to ‘military targets’, a reality exacerbated by the admitted occasional poor targeting, human error, equipment malfunction, and the irresponsible use of out-dated Soviet maps.
But, the critical element remains the very low value put upon Afghan civilian lives by U.S. military planners and the political elite, as clearly revealed by U.S. willingness to bomb heavily populated regions. Current Afghan civilian lives must and will be sacrificed in order to [possibly] protect future American lives.
Actions speak, and words [can] obscure: the hollowness of pious pronouncements by Rumsfeld, Rice and the compliant corporate media about the great care taken to minimize collateral damage is clear for all to see.
Other U.S. bombing targets hit are impossible to ‘explain’ in terms other than the U.S. seeking to inflict maximum pain upon Afghan society and perceived ‘enemies’:
• the targeted bombing of the Kajakai dam and other power stations,
• radio stations,
• the Kabul telephone exchange,
• the Al Jazeera Kabul office,
• trucks and buses filled with fleeing refugees, and
• the numerous attacks upon civilian trucks carrying fuel oil.
Indeed, the bombing of Afghan civilian infrastructure parallels that of the Afghan civilian.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.