December 2, 2013
When I read this Washington Post article about the two-year-old child that U.S. forces just killed in Afghanistan, I wondered what the child’s name was. Nowhere was it to be found in the article. Maybe the Post hadn’t acquired the name. Or maybe it just doesn’t matter. It’s just one more death among the countless Afghan deaths at the hands of U.S. forces during the past 12 years.
The commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., issued an apology for killing the child. I wonder if he cited the child’s name in his apology. In any event, no doubt Dunford is hoping that the apology will help the U.S. government secure permission from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan past 2014.
The child’s death was justified by the same rationale that has been used to justify the deaths of countless other Afghan people since the U.S. invasion 12 years ago: what U.S. officials call “collateral damage.” U.S. officials said that they were targeting a “mid-level Taliban commander who had been involved in attacks” on coalition troops and “organizing and facilitating lethal aid to insurgents in the area.” The two-year old just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
For 12 years, the U.S. government has had carte blanche to kill as many people as it wanted in Afghanistan. Whenever U.S. forces have dropped bombs and fired missiles at suspected “terrorists,” “militants,” or “insurgents,” there has been no second-guessing on the part of U.S. officials, no matter how many non-terrorists, non-militants, and non-insurgents have been killed in the process. Oh sure, apologies are oftentimes rendered and nominal payments of money are made to aggrieved families, but nothing has stopped the onslaught of death for 12 long years.
If they haven’t killed all the bad guys by now and if they haven’t trained the Afghan government to stand on its own, then it’s time to just declare the entire venture a failure and bring all the troops home now.
Let’s face it. That two-year-old didn’t have to die. If U.S. forces had already exited Afghanistan, then U.S. forces wouldn’t have been there to fire the missile that killed that kid.
Of course, U.S. officials would respond that then they wouldn’t have been able to kill that militant — the one who is “organizing and facilitating lethal aid to insurgents in the area.”
Well, let’s ask ourselves why that Afghan is a militant and why he’s engaged in that activity. It’s not because he was involved in the 9/11 attacks or planning on coming to get us here in the United States. It’s because that militant is trying to rid his country of a foreign occupier — and a brutal foreign occupier at that, one that fires missiles at people in reckless disregard of whether there are two-year-old children in the vicinity.