Sunday, March 11, 2012
UPDATE 1: Laura King of the Los Angeles Times seeks to downplay the killings:
Apparently, she hasn't read the reports that the US acknowledges a 50% error rate in targeting perceived enemies during night raids and drone strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even assuming that one is willing to accept the US narrative as to the purpose of these attacks, given that the US has continued to launch these attacks with full knowledge that they kill large numbers of civilians, it is not possible to characterize the resulting deaths as accidental.
Civilian casualties -- almost always accidentally inflicted when they come at the hands of the Western military -- have long been a sore point in the West’s dealings with Karzai.
INITIAL POST: From the Guardian:
The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has always been about retribution for 9/11, at least as far as many of the troops are concerned. Of course, the Afghans had nothing to do with it, except for that small number of people who helped shelter Bin Laden and others involved in al-Qaeda. But the US keeps telling the troops that Afghanistan is a central theatre in the war on terror, despite the lack of any quantifiable al-Qaeda presence in the country, and when faced with predictable resistance from the Afghan populace, horrifying incidents of this kind are inevitable.
A US soldier has killed more than a dozen Afghan civilians, many of them women and children, in a night-time shooting spree in southern Afghanistan.
The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, condemned the shootings as intentional murders and demanded an explanation from the US.
The victims of the shootings, which left up to 16 civilians dead, included nine children and three women, Karzai's office said in a statement.
This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven, Karzai said. He said he has repeatedly demanded the US stop killing Afghan civilians.
The White House said it was deeply concerned by initial reports of the incident and was monitoring the situation closely.
General John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, issued a statement pledging a rapid and thorough investigation into the shooting spree, and said the soldier will remain in US custody.