Afghanistan & Guernica

May 14th, 2009 - by admin

Workers World – 2009-05-14 21:55:30

(May 13, 2009) — THE FACTS:
The US Air Force bombed and strafed villages with heavy machine guns in the Farah province of Afghanistan on the evening and night of May 4. Col. Greg Julian, a spokesperson for the US military in Kabul, admitted it.

The governor of the province, Rohul Amin, told the Afghan parliament that as many as 130 civilians had been killed, according to Mohammad Naim Farahi, a member of parliament. He reported that survivors buried 113 bodies, including many women and children. Later, more bodies were pulled from the rubble and some victims who had been taken to the hospital died.

“The governor said that the villagers have brought two tractor trailers full of pieces of human bodies to his office to prove the casualties that had occurred,” Farahi said. “Everyone at the governor’s office was crying, watching that shocking scene.”

Ghusuldin Agha, who lives in Granai village in the Bala Baluk district, said the bombing started at 5 p.m. and lasted until late into the night. “People were rushing to go to their relatives’ houses, where they believed they would be safe, but they were hit on the way.” Body parts were strewn over the ground.

Local farmer Muhammad Jan said: “Women and children had sought shelter in orchards and houses.” The bombardment completely destroyed houses and people “still remain under the rubble. Now I am working with other villagers trying to excavate the dead bodies.” According to a report on this atrocity in the May 6 New York Times, “Villagers, crazed with grief, were collecting mangled bodies in blankets and shawls and piling them on three tractors. People were still missing.”

Jessica Barry, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, reported the dead included a volunteer for the Afghan Red Crescent and 13 of his relatives.

“We have some other information that leads us to distinctly different conclusions about the cause of the civilian casualties,” said the senior US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, who was just fired by President Obama.

US Defense Department officials who wouldn’t allow their names to be reported said investigators were looking into reports that the Afghan civilians were killed by grenades hurled by Taliban militants, and that the militants then drove the bodies around the village claiming the dead were victims of an American airstrike.

“We cannot confirm the report that the Taliban executed these people. … We don’t know if it’s true, and we also don’t know how many civilians were killed as a result of this operation,” said Capt. John Kirby, spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

The town of Guernica, a historic symbol of the Basque nation, was attacked by Nazi German and fascist Italian bombers on April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, killing up to 1,600 civilians. The German Nazis supported the Spanish fascists, led by Gen. Francisco Franco. World-famous artist Pablo Picasso depicted the massacre in his painting “Guernica,” which has kept the fascist atrocity in people’s memory.

Germany’s Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was well known for using the “Big Lie,” a brutal fascist repression of the truth. Franco, borrowing from this tactic, blamed the deaths in Guernica on Basque anti-fascists, and repressed the truth about German responsibility until his death in 1975.

Hitler and fascism arose in a time of capitalist crisis and decaying economic relations. Then and now the reality is a decaying capitalist system accompanied by burgeoning militarism. This time people are more interconnected worldwide and it’s difficult to cover up the monstrous crimes and the Pentagon’s big lies.

The problem is how to stop them. It can be done, and the struggle of the world’s people to overturn the US military complex needs to be here in the belly of the beast.
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