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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day innocents dead, NATO “Sorry”

Compiled, edited, comment by Carolyn Bennett

Apologies are never enough. Honor for life and justice rises not from war but from a sensibility that takes the tougher road beyond violence: a compelling character to settle conflict and “want” by means other than aggression. Foreign Wars against the peoples of South/Central Asia (the Middle East/Africa and elsewhere) must end.

Truly moral and ethical world leaders must assume the helm and establish new, truly progressive policies of foreign relations, which are rooted in nonviolence.

Consequences of character flaw

U.S./NATO War against Afghanistan
Fatalities by Country—Country Total [http://icasualties.org/oef/]

Australia 24 — Belgium 1 — Canada 156 — Czech 3 — Denmark 40 — Estonia 8 — Finland 2 — France 58 — Georgia 8 — Germany 52 — Hungary 6 — Italy 36 — Jordan 2 — Latvia 3 — Lithuania 1 — NATO 6 — Netherlands 25 — New Zealand 2 — Norway 10 — Poland 26 — Portugal 2 — Romania 19 — South Korea 1 — Spain 31 — Sweden 5 — Turkey 2 — UK 368 — US 1598 — — TOTAL: 2495
Two International Security Assistance Force service members died today following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan.

An International Security Assistance Force service member died today following “a helicopter hard landing in southern Afghanistan.”

Four Afghan police officers died today and five Italian soldiers suffered wounds when a suicide bomb exploded in the western Afghan city of Heart. A car bomb also reportedly detonated at the gates of a NATO compound.

A NATO soldier died today after being shot by an Afghan soldier in southern Afghanistan… An ‘individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform , later confirmed to be an Afghan soldier, turned his weapon on a member of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)

The number of off-duty members of the U.S. National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, nationally, who have committed suicide between 2009 (80) and 2010 (145) nearly doubled.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Peter Clore, 23 years old, of New Philadelphia died Saturday in Afghanistan.

Five (est.) people died today and 34 suffered wounds, Al Jazeera reports, after armed men launched multiple attacks in the western Afghan city of Herat.…  At least 27 other civilians were wounded, along with four Afghan troops and three police officers. Coordinated attacks targeted a building of the provincial reconstruction team of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) and a busy crossroads about two kilometers from the base.

Attacks have taken place in cities across the country in recent weeks, with the government and security forces and foreign military targets singled out in increasingly bold assaults.

Apologizing, again, for the unforgivable —
Killing innocents

At least 14 civilians, including women and children, have been killed in a NATO air raid in the Afghan southern province of Helmand. According to a provincial government statement to the press, U.S. Marines in Helmand’s Nawzad district called in air support after their base came under attack from small arms fire. “During the air strike, two civilian houses were targeted, which killed 14 civilians and wounded six others.” Among the dead, the statement said, were five girls, seven boys and two women.”

In Sunday airstrikes, NATO forces killed 52 mostly civilian people. In separate incidents, the governor of Nuristan reported to the press, “18 civilians and 20 police were killed by ‘friendly fire’ during recent U.S.-led air strikes against al-Qaeda-linked fighters in his troubled northeastern province.”


The Guardian and other sources are reporting today “NATO/International forces in Afghanistan [have apologized] for air strikes that killed at least nine civilians.”

The article went on to report that President Hamid Karzai, in a statement that revised police commander Abdul Rauf Ahmadi’s casualty figures — saying that 10 children, two women and two men had been killed — condemned the attacks. The Afghan president “called for an end to coalition attacks that resulted in civilian deaths, calling such operations ‘inhumane.’”

However, the article said, “It is unclear what leverage Karzai ultimately has over military operations conducted by NATO, which is [operating] in Afghanistan under an international mandate.” No comment on Karzai’s comments came from the White House except a standard line, “the U.S.  [shares the Afghan president’s] concerns about civilian deaths and worked with Afghan officials to avoid them.”

Not good enough

The world deserves better and the human spirit is capable of rising above, moving beyond a medieval state of intellectual darkness and barbarity, constant violence: war and conflict, threat and theft, provocation and domination. 

This is not a partisan wish or partisan condemnation. It is an acknowledgment that what we have and have had for a long time is regressive, not good enough, and we can and must do better.  It is a Memorial Day thought.

Sources and notes
Casualty site Icasualties’ news today compiled from news sources: Iraq/Afghanistan casualties, http://icasualties.org/oef/

“Deadly attacks hit Afghan city — At least five killed and 34 wounded after armed men launch multiple attacks in western city of Heart,” May 30, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/05/201153081134362477.html

“Deadly attack in volatile southwestern province followed small arms fire on U.S. Marines,” May 29, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/05/2011529102045125188.html

Guardian.co.uk, Monday, May 30, 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/30/nato-apologises-afghan-civilian-deaths


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