'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Updated accounts on the killings in Khost by US forces are even worse than initially reported:

An Afghan army colonel whose wife and children died in a US-led raid demanded action against the troops responsible Friday as President Hamid Karzai condemned the killings.

The operation in the eastern province of Khost around midnight Wednesday killed the wife of Afghan National Army artillery commander Awal Khan, two of his children and a brother.

The troops, who had been hunting a militant linked to radical Islamist groups, also shot a pregnant woman and killed her unborn baby, which had almost come to term, Khan and a provincial health official said. The woman survived the shooting.

Across the border in Pakistan, US drone attacks, along with Pakistani military operations, have created approximately 536,000 internally displaced people, commonly known as refugees, as reported last Sunday in the Times of London:

American drone attacks on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are causing a massive humanitarian emergency, Pakistani officials claimed after a new attack yesterday killed 13 people.

The dead and injured included foreign militants, but women and children were also killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Data Khel, near the Afghan border, according to local officials.

As many as 1m people have fled their homes in the Tribal Areas to escape attacks by the unmanned spy planes as well as bombings by the Pakistani army. In Bajaur agency entire villages have been flattened by Pakistani troops under growing American pressure to act against Al-Qaeda militants, who have made the area their base.

Kacha Garhi is one of 11 tented camps across Pakistan’s frontier province once used by Afghan refugees and now inhabited by hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis made homeless in their own land.

Yet another human catastrophe in a region misfortunate enough to find itself at the center of American geopolitical designs:

Many have terrible stories. Baksha Zeb lost everything when his village, Anayat Kalay in Bajaur, was demolished by Pakistani forces. His eight-year-old son is a kidney patient needing dialysis and he has been left with no means to pay.

Our houses have been flattened, our cattle killed and our farms and crops destroyed, he complained. There is not a single structure in my village still standing. There is no way we can go back.

He sold his taxi to pay for food for his family and treatment for his son but the money has almost run out. God bestowed me with a son after 15 years of marriage, he said. Now I have no job and I don’t know how we will survive.

If Zeb is lucky, some NGO worker will contact the reporter who wrote this article, track the man down and get him connected with an American medical organization willing to have him and his son flown to the US so that his son can receive necessary medical treatment for his kidney condition. And then, of course, we will all be subjected to media accounts about the child's salvation, accounts that serve the purpose of humanizing our military invention, similar to previous accounts regarding the treatment of Iraqi burn victims, like this and this and this.

More likely, Zeb is going to experience the agonizingly painful death of his son because of his inability to pay for the dialysis treatment. It is the new American progressivism, a self-induced delusion paid in full with the deaths of Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans. Perhaps, it is time for the reissuance of the iconic HOPE poster, splattered with the symbolic blood of the victims of the shockingly cynical politics that it now ironically represents.

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