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This post is about US bombings of civilians.  I cannot begin to cover all the air bombings of Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan (drone attacks), but I will cover a few examples.  

God only knows how many civilians were killed or injured by US bombings, but I do remember "shock and awe" in March 2003 that was supposed to be surgical strikes to take out Iraqi leadership.  Instead, those bombs only killed civilians.  One particularly gruesome story was off an eight months pregnant woman whose baby was ejected from her womb and body with the top of his little head cut off.  He died, of course.  Instantly.  The mother died shortly thereafter too – she bled to death.  That happened in Basra.

And I am sure a lot of readers remember the story of Ali, whose picture appeared in the pages of TIME magazine.  He lost both his arms, had severe burns on his body, and his entire family was killed.  He was about 8 years old, if I recall correctly.  He said he wanted his arms and his parents back.

A more recent, and horrendous example occurred in May 2009 in Afghanistan.  This article is from the LA Times, and starts by casting doubt on who exactly is responsible for the bombings that killed about 140 people.  I can tell who is to blame – as long as US troops are in the country, then the US IS TO BLAME since they are the ones responsible for security.  And in this case, they are the ones who did the killing.

(Some people were reported as ‘missing’ since the bombing actually reduced hem to miniature body parts and could not be identified.  For example, a finger maybe found in a nearby bush or tree.... But how can you say who it belongs to?   That is one of the problems with trying to find out how many were killed in a US bombing, but it is a minor problem compared to the fact that the US government does not give a shit who they kill or injure.)  

Afghan civilian deaths: Who is to blame?

Commanders and villagers give conflicting accounts of the attack that Afghan officials say killed 140 civilians, a toll disputed by the U.S. But injured girls make clear the costs for two families.

.....Afghan officials say at least 140 civilians died, two-thirds of them children and teenagers.

Here is their report on the injured children:

Piercing wails rose into the antiseptic-scented air where four blistered and bandaged little girls lay in side-by-side hospital beds. One of them, 5-year-old Ferishteh, writhed and cried almost continuously, unable to find a position that did not cause her pain from the burns that covered her arms, legs and torso.

..... Nine-year-old Nazbibi, whose large brown eyes were half hidden by swollen eyelids with eyelashes burned away, remembered falling asleep with her mother and 10-year-old sister by her side.

"I heard a big boom, and I was buried except for my head," she said. "Everything collapsed -- the roof was on me, and there were flames. I was so frightened."

Her sister, Gulbuddin, was killed. Her mother, Sanam, suffered burns but survived, although the night's events so unhinged her that she apparently suffered a mental collapse.

The article says this about the people who were bombed:

There is no cellphone service in most of Bala Baluk at night, so villagers were unable to summon help, and they were too frightened to make the drive to Farah City. The wounded who weren't lucky enough to be unconscious shrieked themselves hoarse until morning finally came.

The really lucky ones are the ones who died instantly.  Go and read the whole article, and see if you don’t agree.

And then about a month or two later, the US finally admits to some "mistakes".   (Well, sometimes they do.  Most of the time they just ignore it after blaming it on someone else.)  

Here is a report from the New York Times where the US military admits "mistakes":

A military investigation has concluded that American personnel made significant errors in carrying out some of the airstrikes in western Afghanistan on May 4 that killed dozens of Afghan civilians, according to a senior American military official.  The official said the civilian death toll would probably have been reduced if American air crews and forces on the ground had followed strict rules devised to prevent civilian casualties. Had the rules been followed, at least some of the strikes by American warplanes against half a dozen targets over seven hours would have been aborted.

Of course, that does not bring any dead people back.  Nor does it help the wounded.  And it surely does not stop the US from doing it AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.  I would bet we will hear about another bombing that kills civilians before the month is over.  Not that many Americans would care.  I guess they are too busy worrying about other people’s sexuality and the possible abortion of a fetus to worry about the death of living and breathing innocent people who happen to be under US occupation.

But it has gotten to the point that we can predict what the US military’s "story" about civilian casualties from air bombings will take, and how our corporate media will report it:

A sizable clump of peasants with unpronounceable names from an equally unpronounceable village on the other side of the globe are slaughtered by a drone, air strike, or troops on the ground.  The initial story appears complete with quotes from locals, local officials, and aid workers- many if not all going on the record and giving their names- on or near the scene that lay out the basic facts of the story- that the US killed a bunch of civilians.  And within hours of this come the denials from the US military.  And not just any denials but creative ones.  If not denying outright that anyone was killed at all (which is sometimes their first reaction) the US military will then offer up their own story in which the evil "Taliban" or "Al Qaeda in Iraq" killed the civilians in question.  The sources for the military's side of the story are almost never named, were no where near the incident, and have no first hand knowledge of the event in question at all.

This doesn't stop our "liberal" media from giving the stories from anonymous military sources far removed from the atrocity equal if not more weight than the named local sources on the ground.

And here is another report that followed a few weeks later:
U.S. admits Afghan airstrike may have killed 86 civilians

An internal military investigation into an U.S. airstrike in western Afghanistan acknowledged that U.S. forces may have killed as many as 86 civilians and said the military needs to re-examine its rules to reduce future civilian casualties.

I agree that they need to re-examine their ‘rules’.... They need to STOP DOING IT COMPLETELY.  Keep in mind that the locals said that 140 were killed, not 86.  It is hard to identify bodies, however, once they have been blown to teeny, tiny bits of blood and flesh.

And of course, the local politicians are none too happy about the air bombings of their fellow civilians, and the air bombing of the politicians themselves.

Here is another incident, this time on May 24, 2009.   It comes from a Reuters article:

An Afghan civilian died of wounds from a U.S.-led airstrike, which was supporting NATO-led forces in Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, the alliance said in a statement.  The civilian was suspected of planting an explosive device but an investigation later determined he was not an insurgent, the statement added.

Just a blip on one day’s write up of security incidents.  The killing of this man was not even noticed here in the USA.  You can bet your last dollar it WAS noticed by his family.  And this likely happens in Iraq and Afghanistan on a regular basis.  In the blog Iraq Today, there is a listing of all security incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan, and links to US air power summaries.  But most of the bombings over the last eight years we know nothing about.

And here’s another incident, this one from June 2009:

Dispute Over Afghan Deaths in Strike

The airstrike in Ghor Province in western Afghanistan on Tuesday was aimed at a local Taliban militant, Mullah Mustafa, but instead killed 10 civilians and 12 insurgents, according to Sayed Iqbal Munib, the governor of Sar-i-Pul, a neighboring province.

Oh, yes, there is always a "dispute" and generally, the locals end up being proven correct in their claims, long after everyone in the USA has forgotten about it.  

And, no one is disciplined for making a "mistake" either.

Oh, and it has been going on for quite awhile.  This story is from 2007.
Civilian death toll rises in the bloody battle of Helmand

Last week I saw the damage being done in the battle for hearts and minds. In the British headquarters a girl was brought in by her family. She lay on the table, blood leaking from her tiny frame. Occasionally her body would convulse, her screams reverberating around the base. On either side, three of her siblings whimpered. They, too, had been lacerated by masonry after a US bomber strafed their home last Sunday morning while the Taliban were firing from the same compound.

An hour earlier, soldiers at the base in Sangin had recognised the thud of a nearby explosive. By the time its disbelieving victims appeared at the British outpost, they had already buried two children. Others lay entombed beneath the rubble. Bombed by their would-be liberators, their parents had passed the bloodied bundles of their remaining children to the British army to save them.

Air bombings are happening quite often in Pakistan too.  Here is a post on the drone strikes in Pakistan, and their impacts on civilians.

If you support the continued occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan, or the bombing of Pakistan, then you support WHAT WAR BRINGS:  civilian deaths by US air bombings.

Originally posted to dancewater on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 05:27 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. - Chris Hedges 3/2/09

    by dancewater on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 05:27:57 PM PDT

  •  I'm curious; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Shipper

    If you support the continued occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan, or the bombing of Pakistan, then you support WHAT WAR BRINGS:  civilian deaths by US air bombings.

    Does this mean that your recommendation of elishastephens' diary earlier claiming Ahmadinejad won legitimately mean that you support WHAT AJAD BRINGS: repressive Islamic theocracy?

    "i find the resemblace of DemocraticLuntz and Arken to Disney style yapping jackals to be astoundingly accurate"

    by DemocraticLuntz on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 05:29:41 PM PDT

  •  Collataral damage = state-sponsored terrorism. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, mieprowan, thethinveil

    And as with anything backed by the state, it's far more brutal than its resistance-backed counterpart.

    "All wars end with talking." - CKendall.

    by haruki on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 05:37:06 PM PDT

  •  These cowardly bombings by the U.S. (4+ / 0-)

    make me ashamed and angry and digusted. Further, the total dismissal of these useless killings is never covered by our media. Does anyone care, or is it that we are too ashamed to admit the crimes against innocents. We've yet to hear an "We're sorry" for Iraq,except for saying, "Oh, we should have made a bigger war in Afghanistan, oops!"  We have no money in this country for universal healthcare, or education but we sure have plenty pouring into the military and the banks.
    My 4th of July has not been celebrated, but a sad commemoration of what we have become.
    Thank you for bringing the issue forward into the light where it should be.
    Byrnt

  •  Update (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, mieprowan

    Ali Abbas, the boy who lost his arms in the attack on Iraq, now lives in Wimbledon, South London. He plays football (soccer) for two clubs in their disabled teams.

    The choice of Wimbledon was probably due to the proximity of a national (and international) center for prosthetic limbs in Queen Mary's Hospital at Roehampton.

    "Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism." Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and son of Holocaust survivor.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 06:03:02 PM PDT

  •  a really depressing diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, mieprowan, thethinveil

    One of the early shock and awe attacks in Iraq was on a restaurant frequented by Hussein. He wasn't there at the time; the bombs killed members of the Christian family that owned the place. Robert Fisk arrived in time to see the survivors pull a dead baby out of the rubble.

    •  it is the reality that is really depressing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluestone, mieprowan, thethinveil

      but, fair warning: I am going to do a WWB (What War Brings) story daily for the foreseeable future.  

      There is no lack of materials, old and new.  Thanks for posting that report - and I wanted to point out that all the bombings in Shock and Awe killed civilians, and only civilians.  Not a single Iraqi official was hit.  Very sad and very evil.

      The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. - Chris Hedges 3/2/09

      by dancewater on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 06:39:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for doing these diaries (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dancewater, mieprowan, thethinveil

        I'll read them; it's just that if I really thought about all the death and destruction going on in the world I would collapse and die of grief. What bothers me even more than these incidents is the indifference of many people.

        Very sad and very evil.

        Yeah, we are bankrupting ourselves to kill innocent people overseas in these criminal wars. As a result, how many people have died in the US because of lack of healthcare or jobs? Nick Turse assembled a short list of people who have committed murder or suicide in the economic downturn.

  •  Photo of an injured child (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thethinveil

    The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. - Chris Hedges 3/2/09

    by dancewater on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 06:45:52 PM PDT

  •  Minor point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, mieprowan

    Shock and Awe was never intended to take out any specific people. Bombings of that scale are useless for that. The real purpose was twofold: To destroy infrastructure (Water, sewage, electricity, communications.) And terror. That's what bombing campaigns are always for. It's not the first time we've done this sort of thing, and considering all the military worship that goes on here, it will happen again.

    Where's my god damn socialism?

    by Hannibal on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 07:05:06 PM PDT

  •  In Cairo Obama quoted the Koran (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, mieprowan, thethinveil

    while saying that to kill one innocent life was to kill the world.  He now owns both wars IMHO

    "Bad Bruise before dishonor"

    by tRueffert on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 07:05:46 PM PDT

  •  only chickenshits drop bombs from planes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluestone

    John McCain for instance. What kind of slime bag fuck can drop certain death on unknown people?

    "Bad Bruise before dishonor"

    by tRueffert on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 07:10:00 PM PDT

    •  I had a friend who had the same feeling about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluestone

      guns, that they were a sign of weakness and fear, cowards for not fighting with their hands.

      I can see that sometimes people feel they have little choice or are ignorant of the real costs involved in that choice but are repentant about the lives they take.

      For those who brag about it afterward without recognizing their actions were horrific - they are scumbags.

      "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

      by thethinveil on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 07:19:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  even worse when it comes from drones (0+ / 0-)

      The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. - Chris Hedges 3/2/09

      by dancewater on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 08:56:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll disagree (0+ / 0-)

      Air power has a role in any armed conflict beyond managing urban unrest.

      I don't think it takes an especially cruel or heartless person to accept orders to fly about, shoot at or blow up specified targets, etc., because the aircrews probably believe they're doing the right thing. And aircrews know that what they're doing, when they attack, is killing people. The question is, if you felt it was your role to play in making the world a better place, that you were doing something appropriate and expected of you... wouldn't you, too, pull the trigger?

      If individual crewmen make statements on the record about the joys of blowing up random people, fine, crucify them. Otherwise, if the "collateral damage" problem is systematic, then the system itself is flawed, and those who maintain the system - the commanders, the tacticians and strategists, and the civilian government they answer to - are the ones responsible.

      Stay with me, Neda. Stay with me.

      by Shaviv on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 09:17:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in answer to your question (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mieprowan

        "NO" I would not pull the trigger... that's just me.

        I would not feel I was making the world a better place by doing that.  I don't think the military is supposed to make the world a better place, they are supposed to kill our enemies and destroy their ability to hurt us.  I don't think the US has had an enemy worthy of air bombing since World War 2.

        The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. - Chris Hedges 3/2/09

        by dancewater on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 10:04:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But that's because you specifically reject (0+ / 0-)

          the ideas that the world would be made better and that the specific action (pulling the trigger) was appropriate. I suppose "making the world a better place" is the wrong term, and should be replaced by upholding the oath to defend etc.

          I'm saying, in the frame that says: My sworn task is to defend the USA; by attacking the targets (people, or vehicles or buildings which contain people) before me, I help to defend the USA and uphold my oath; I am violating no laws or moral standards in firing -- there is no reason not to fire, and numerous reasons to do so.

          If you rejected those ideas, you would probably have found a way out of being sent on that mission, whether by not enlisting in the first place, leaving military service as soon as legally possible, or breaking regulations and refusing your orders or simply deserting.

          I don't think it requires immorality, cruelty, or any other dispositional flaw, to subscribe to the ideas I described above - assuming you're not a pacifist, anyway. If the actions which naturally follow from those ideas (attacking the specified targets) should lead to results which are inappropriate, like a consistently large proportion of civilian casualties across all targets attacked, that's a systemic problem for which everyone (but especially the upper-echelon command structure and the civilian government) is responsible.

          Stay with me, Neda. Stay with me.

          by Shaviv on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 10:49:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes, everyone is responsible (0+ / 0-)

            and I am a pacifist.

            What I am saying is that Yes, the US military is to be used to defend the homeland - BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT WE ARE DOING AND we have not been doing that since WW2.  Therefore, each and every one of these bombings is NOT defending the USA at all.  They  are, in my eyes, just immoral.  And I wish our military would stop following immoral and illegal orders and uphold their oath to defend the US and the Constitution.  There are a few who are doing this, but very few.

            I got McNamara on the radio right now - he finally 'got it' in the 1990's.  Everything he did in Vietnam was illegal, immoral, and NOT in defense of the USA.

            It was all a big pile of EVIL.

            The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. - Chris Hedges 3/2/09

            by dancewater on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 12:21:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary thanks for keeping us up on this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluestone, dancewater, mieprowan

    issue - seems that most of the media has forgotten about the costs of war when it come to Afghanistan.

    No discussion at all on the MSM and next to none here on DK.

    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

    by thethinveil on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 07:14:07 PM PDT

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