Monday, May 18, 2009


This morning on NPR's Morning Edition, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports on the U.S. bombing raid of a small Afghani village that left 140 people dead, many of them children.

Writes Sarhaddi Nelson:

"Abdul Ghafar Watandar, the provincial police chief, said foreign militants and Afghan Taliban are flowing into districts surrounding Farah city from their hideouts across the southern border with Pakistan. Their commanders — including a cleric who was the governor of neighboring Nimrooz province when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan — recently formed a "shadow" government in Farah.

"Watandar said these new Taliban officials are handing out money and weapons to the impoverished and illiterate majority with the aim of further destabilizing the province.

"Unlike previous Taliban cells, this new army of militants seems eager to take on not only the local police, but also the far better trained and equipped Afghan and NATO troops. And Watandar said there aren't enough of those in Farah province, making air support a crucial part of major fights.

""If the American airstrikes hadn't happened that day, there might have been a lot more deaths," Watandar said. "The Taliban had secured themselves good positions on the rooftops and streets of the village, and they wouldn't have left.""

But this argument that the U.S. airstrikes probably saved many more deaths is just pure speculation and self-serving. Whoever ordered the airstrike needs to be recalled. Killing over 140 civilians is unacceptable. Killing even one civilian or one child is also unacceptable.

Is this what the war means in Afghanistan? U.S. war planes dropping bombs on civilians in the American quest to eliminate the Taliban? If the answer is yes, then I don't want any part of that dirty war.

Bring all American soldiers out of Afghanistan. There has to be a better way of dealing with fundamental Islamists. Killing civilians is not the answer.

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