You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Civilian Deaths’ tag.

   Media Lens does fantastic, if grim work, in describing the system we live in.  We are insulated from other narratives other ideas, other peoples sufferings.  How can a public become informed with no other sources to cross reference?  You cannot triangulate with only one point.  Media Lens, Al-Jazeera and other alternative news sources provide those points for those who have the resources to find out.

The Statistics of Western State Terror (click title for link to full article)

“Ten years later, the violent consequences of the invasion of Afghanistan are truly appalling. A Stop the War video, ‘What is the true cost of the Afghanistan war?’ details some of the appalling statistics:

9,300 Afghan civilians have been killed by International Security Assistance Forces, i.e. Nato.

380 British soldiers are dead.

£18 billion of UK taxpayer’s money has been spent.

The war is costing Britain £12 million per day. The same amount could employ 100,000 nurses (at £21,000 annually) and 150,000 care workers (£15,000).

A study by Brown University in the United States estimates an unimaginable combined sum of up to $4 trillion to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In Afghanistan, ‘cautious estimates’ of the total civilian death toll exceed 40,000 people, of which:

25.6%  killed by ISAF forces.

15.4%  killed by anti-government forces.

60%  killed by poverty, disease and starvation.

In particular, the horrendous killing of Afghan children in US air strikes and night raids gets scant coverage, if any, before the Western media swiftly looks away.

There are now three million refugees from Afghanistan: 30.7% of the world’s total, exceeding the figures of 16.9% from Iraq, 7.7% from Somalia and 4.8% from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

74% of the British public want the occupation to end either ‘immediately’ or ‘soon’.

Very little of this reality made it into the largely uncritical coverage of the ten-year anniversary of the West’s aggression against Afghanistan.

In the conclusion to a new report for Stop the War, David Swanson provides a stunning example of the media’s systematic bias:

‘On August 6, 2011, numerous US media outlets reported “the deadliest day of the war” because 38 soldiers, including 30 U.S. troops, had been killed when their helicopter was shot down.

‘But compare that with the day of May 4, 2009, discussed in this report, on which 140 people, including 93 children, were killed in U.S. airstrikes. We are denying to each other through silence and misdirection every day that the children of Afghanistan exist. But their deaths are rising.’

But the deaths of Afghan children, and the suffering of the people of Afghanistan, are seemingly of little consequence for most Western journalists who would rather focus on the ‘progress’ and ‘achievements’ of the Nato ‘campaign’. “

Speaking of how not to win a war, this in from Afghanistan.

Hundreds of villagers have blocked a highway in eastern Afghanistan to protest a night raid by Nato and Afghan soldiers that left two people dead.  A statement from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said two “Taliban insurgents” were killed in the raid in a district near Jalalabad.  But villagers said the men were civilians; their protest temporarily closed the highway connecting Jalalabad to Pakistan on Wednesday.”

Two possible insurgents dead, an entire village up in arms protesting to the murder, according to them, of two innocent people.  If this is what the people of Afghanistan associate with the US/NATO effort there, then indeed this war, just like Iraq, is lost.

“The protest mirrored a similar demonstration last week, when Nato and Afghan forces raided a house in Wardak province. Neighbours claimed the night raid killed three civilians, and hundreds of them took to the streets to protest the following afternoon.

Afghans have staged a number of similar protests in recent months: Villagers near Jalalabad burned tyres in May after a night raid killed at least nine people, and hundreds protested after Nato troops opened fire on a bus in Kandahar in April.”

The legacy being written, as with every other occupation of Afghanistan, is in the blood of innocents.   They will rise once again and push out the occupying armies from their land.

“A United Nations report released last week found that raids by Nato troops killed 41 civilians in the first half of 2010.

Night raids have been a particular point of friction between Nato and Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president. Karzai demanded an end to all night raids in February.”

The puppet Karzai can demand all he wants.  His protests fall on mostly deaf ears, after all it is only his country and people that are being destroyed.

The southern offensive against the Taliban in the town of Marjah continues.  The cost so far has been twelve civilians from an errant rocket attack.

“But the offensive, known as Operation Moshtarak, was overshadowed on Sunday by the death of 12 Afghan civilians killed when two rockets missed their target and landed on homes in Nad Ali district, where Marjah is located. Nato acknowledged responsibility for the deaths.”

I guess you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.  But we are sorry:

“General Stanley McChrystal, the head of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, called the loss of life “regrettable” and said the operation was being conducted with “the protection of Afghan people in mind”.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathies and will ensure we do all we can to avoid future incidents,” he said in a statement on Sunday.”

What I wonder is if those 12 people’s families really understand what is going on?  I mean do they really fathom the strategic importance of what Western forces are doing in their country?  Do they think the Taliban is evil and must be banished by force of arms from their area?   Or are they just devastated that they have lost family members and will blame whomever caused their deaths?

The fighting has been raging across Afghanistan for years, what guarantee is there that this will not happen again?  Why of course let us put our faith in government in a box…and other nifty statements that do not address the endemic problems of Afghanistan.

“Afghan officials say they have a “government-in-a-box” ready to sweep in and set up institutional services and security that will ensure the Taliban do not return to areas captured by US-led forces.”

Somehow I get the feeling this is the same old rhetoric repackaged for this media cycle.

In the lawless shamble that is occupied Iraq the private mercenaries have, and continue to run amok.

“Saad al-Muttalibi, an adviser to the Iraqi council of ministers, said on Friday that if the [5] guards did not receive a just sentence for the killing of 14 Iraqis in 2007, the issue would complicate relations between Iraq and the United States.”

Not particularly surprising.  Gunning down innocent people is usually frowned on, unless of course they the enemy.  Then it is O.K..

” Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi government spokesman, said in a statement: “The Iraqi government will follow up on this issue in strength and resolution to bring those murderers of Blackwater to accountability in order to return the rights of iraqi people who are the victims of this crime.”

He said “the investigations carried out by the specialised Iraqi authorities confirmed with no doubt that the guards of Blackwater company have committed a criminal murder act and they have violated the combat environment rule to use force while there was no threat against them”

The Iraqi authorities are justifiably pissed off as Blackwater has had a history of shooting and looting in their country and want to see justice done.  Yeah right:

“Ricardo Urbina, a district judge, dismissed the charges against the five men on Thursday, saying US justice department prosecutors improperly built their case on sworn statements that had been given under a promise of immunity.

Urbina said the government’s explanations were “contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility”.”

Technicality observed.  Get out of Jail Free card handed out, problem solved.

 

In a time where things are hyper sensationalized and denuded of any real meaning Remembrance Day has done remarkably well to maintain its somber demeanor and sense of decorum.  (I’m sure some budding capitalist is contemplating a remembrance day sale, just before being cuffed upside the head for being so vulgar)

I’d like to put forth the notion that we should change the focus of Remembrance Day; from the armed forces to the civilian populations that suffered the brunt of the casualties during  those special times where we leave our empathy and rationality at the door and engage in wholesale slaughter.

This is by no means a comprehensive listing of all civilian deaths due to war – just the low-lights that I could find.

World War I – 6.8 million civilian deaths.

World War II – 42 – 58 million civilian deaths.

Korean War – 2.8 million

Vietnam – 2.0 million

Nicaragua –  78,000 and counting due to landmines.

Iraq – 93,000 to 102,000 and rising.

Afghanistan – 32,000 and rising.

We should take this day to remember our humanity and to work toward understanding each other from across a table, not the barrels of guns.

We should remember those innocent victims of war, they certainly did not deserve their fate, yet war claimed them anyways.  We should remember the Armenian Holocaust, we should remember the Jewish Holocaust not only to remind us of depths of human depravity but to remember that tragic events such as these happened because ordinary people did not speak up and call out the injustice as it was beginning to happen.

It is our responsibility as human beings not to look and then turn away, but rather, we must face our ugly past to prevent an ugly future.

So, on this November 11th, I choose to remember our common humanity and weep for our losses due to the depredations of war and unrest.  I will remember that I will always have a choice whether or not to perpetuate evil, I will remember the past and hope I have the courage to make the right choice if faced with the grim situations that have marred our bloody history.

whitepoppy2

 

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