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

Monday, April 12, 2010

Free Fire Zone Afghanistan (Part 8) 

The preliminary stages of the anticipated Kandahar offensive:

American troops raked a large passenger bus with gunfire near Kandahar on Monday morning, killing as many as five civilians and wounding 18 and sparking anger in a city where winning over Afghan support is considered pivotal to the war effort.

The American-led military command in Kabul called the killings a “tragic loss of life” and said troops fired not knowing the vehicle was a bus and believing that it posed a threat to a military convoy clearing roadside bombs from a highway.

The killings triggered a vitriolic anti-American demonstration, infuriated officials and appeared likely to harm public opinion on the eve of the most important offensive of the war, in which tens of thousands of American and NATO troops will try to take control of the Kandahar region, the spiritual home of the Taliban, this summer.

Note the subsequent demonstration after the killings is described as vitriolic. You know, those emotional, irrational Afghans just can't avoid overreacting to the excesses of the NATO presence. Given all that US and NATO forces have done for them, can't they at least politely protest with signs like We appreciate your hard work, but please stop killing us? Or, maybe, Don't be so scared of us, we really do like you?

Meanwhile, the anticipated Kandahar offensive looks more and more like a slaughterhouse that will permanently define the US/NATO presence in the country. Afghans will the ability to do so will leave the city for sanctuariers in the countryside, while poorer and incapacitated ones will remain. Upon entering the city, US/NATO forces will blame them for their own deaths and injuries, as US troops did in Fallujah, and as the Israeli Defense Force does in Gaza. To be impoverished and infirm renders one Taliban, whether one likes it or not.

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