Wednesday, December 05, 2012

U.S. Justifies the Targeting of Children

Susan Brannon 
5 December 2012

It has been brought to my attention recently that there has,  been "reported" and non reported incidents of the NATO bombing of children in Afghanistan. Robert Dreyfuss The Nation writer and blogger reported on 16th of October 2012, that three children ages 12, 10 and 8 were blown into pieces by NATO while picking up dung for fuel.

A similar incident was reported by the NY Times, as "The…case of three children allegedly killed" (note allegedly) picking up dung.  Later, the incident was investigated and Maj. Adam Wojack a spokesperson for the international forces reported, "“I.S.A.F. did conduct a precision airstrike on three insurgents in Nawa district, and the strike killed all three insurgents." and added, "None of our reporting stated that any children were killed during the strike."

NATO watched explosive devices being planted in the area and then targeted the insurgents planting them stated the Marja governor “As a result two I.E.D. planters were killed and the shrapnel killed the three children who were wandering nearby,” he said. In the end, we have different reports: One says that no children were killed while witnesses saw the mangled children who were all from the same family.

It is normal to pick up dung as fuel for fire in these regions, how else can they light fires to cook their food? NATO needs to provide some regional cultural training. Our war heros are so hot to find "insurgents and terrorists" that they are able to misinterpret picking up dung for planting explosive devices. Imagine three young boys performing their family duties, playing in the fields and laughing as brothers normally do and only to find that their lives are quickly destroyed. Who was looking through the viewers that they look through to find "enemies" and how could they not see that they were three young boys? I believe that they do so because the men need some action and need to report some progress that they actually see what it is that they want to see and not the reality.

The boys names were Borjan, 12; Sardar Wali, 10; and Khan Bibi, 8. These deaths need to be brought to life, they need to be recognized not as terrorists but as children and civilian deaths by those who are too quick to pull the trigger.

There may have been men who dug holes in the area as reported by a local witness, he saw some holes but he did not see any bodies of me. He said that he only saw sacks of dung with the children's blood splattered all over them.

A different article was written in the Military Times on 8th of December 2012 as a direct response to the the reported and "alleged" deaths.  The response was a justification of the soldiers actions and to supply counter explanations to the readers that children too can be terrorists and insurgents and therefore, it is okay to shoot them.  These military ideologies turn the plate over to the reporter and project him/her as ignorant and use the new term, "media propaganda" terrorist.  The unsaid projection of media propaganda reporter/terrorist therefore denies any credibility to the reporting and eye witnesses.  It minimizes the deaths of three young children and the broken heart of the mother.  It dehumanizes the realities of war and their consequences all in the name of patriotism and its just cause.

The Military Times article explains, "Before calling for the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System mission in mid-October, Marines observed the children digging a hole in a dirt road in Nawa district, the official said, and the Taliban may have recruited the children to carry out the mission...The use of children by the Taliban — through recruitment and as human shields — complicates coalition forces’ efforts to eliminate enemy fighters from the battlefield without angering civilians."

The report continues to state: "“It kind of opens our aperture,” said Army Lt. Col. Marion “Ced” Carrington, whose unit, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was assisting the Afghan police. “In addition to looking for military-age males, it’s looking for children with potential hostile intent.”

This last sentence clearly states that the US military looks for children and gives the approval to shoot if the soldiers feel that they have "hostile intent".  Intent is defined as, "the state of a person's mind that directs his or her actions towards a specific object." The U.S. military can understand a person's intention from the viewer while watching another's actions.  I wonder if an 8 year old can really have the intent to damage NATO.

The reality is that we continue to fight in a war that is not ours to fight and we continue to justify the unjustifiable killings of innocent civilians in the region.

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