Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What, My Lai!?

When I first saw this on August 22nd I thought the US & NATO were probably lying:
Coalition forces said 30 militants had been killed in an air strike in Shindand district in the early hours of yesterday and no further air strikes had been launched.

Air strikes were called between 1am and 2am after Afghan and coalition soldiers were ambushed while on a patrol targeting a known Taliban commander in Herat, the US military said.

"Insurgents engaged the soldiers from multiple points . . . using small-arms and [rocket-propelled grenades],"
it said.
But Afghans and the UN said
Afghan officials said Thursday that a deadly U.S.-led special forces raid on a remote western village last week was based on misleading information provided by a rival clan.

It was the latest twist in a tangled debate over what happened. U.N. officials say the raid killed up to 90 civilians, most of them children.
The Pentagon pushed back:
Pentagon disputes reports of 90 Afghan civilians killed in US airstrike

A Pentagon inquiry has found that a controversial US airstrike in Afghanistan resulted in only five civilians deaths, not the 90 deaths reported by Afghan and UN officials.
And what 'investigation' did those Pentagonal folks do? They relied on Ollie North, embedded with the troops as a journalist for Faux Noose, for corroboration of their fiction. (Yes, that's the oliver north, international drug dealer, arms trader to Iran and traitor to the US Constitution.)

For awhile it was a he said/she said with the US gov't playing the role of 'I didn't hit her and if I did she had it coming' and the Afghan civilians and the UN saying "92 were killed, including as many as 60 children."

And now we have camera phone stills and video of the aftermath of this massacre:
Harrowing video film backs Afghan villagers' claims of carnage caused by US troops

As the doctor walks between rows of bodies, people lift funeral shrouds to reveal the faces of children and babies, some with severe head injuries.

Women are heard wailing in the background. “Oh God, this is just a child,” shouts one villager. Another cries: “My mother, my mother.”

The grainy video eight-minute footage, seen exclusively by The Times, is the most compelling evidence to emerge of what may be the biggest loss of civilian life during the Afghanistan war.

These are the images that have forced the Pentagon into a rare U-turn. Until yesterday the US military had insisted that only seven civilians were killed in Nawabad on the night of August 21.
[...]
The villagers’ accounts have been supported by separate investigations conducted by the UN, by Afghanistan’s leading human rights organisation and by an Afghan government delegation. Two Afghan army officers involved in the operation have been dismissed.

The Pentagon’s original investigation concluded last week that US forces used close air support after coming under heavy fire during a mission to seize a Taleban commander named Mullah Sadiq. They allege that he died in the operation.

The US military said that its findings were corroborated by an independent journalist embedded with the US force. He was named as the Fox News correspondent Oliver North, who came to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair, when he was an army colonel.

Sources close to one of the investigations said that a video film was shot by Afghan officials the morning after the attack. It corroborates the doctor’s footage but has not been made public.

In a statement released on Saturday, the commander of Nato forces, General David McKiernan, appeared to back away from previous US accounts. He said: “Following the recent operation in Azizabad, Shindand district, we realise there is a large discrepancy between the number of civilian casualties reported by soldiers and local villagers.
Yeah, it's not lying, it's not a war crime, it just a discrepancy.

A discrepancy that just happens to happen over and over and over.

Maybe it's just me, but I think a discrepancy is when your checkbook is off by a few cents from your bank balance. It's a war crime when you massacre 60 children and 32+ of their elders.



Cross posted at VidiotSpeak