U.S. Bombing Has Killed More Afghan
Civilians, Proportionally, Than American Civilians Killed on September
December 2, 2001
Just in the last few days,
Afghan villagers and anti-Taliban officials have reported
scores, perhaps even hundreds of civilians killed by U.S. bombing.
These are not Taliban
claims. They are not Al Jazeera claims. They are reports by the
villagers who witnessed the bombing, and by officials allied with the U.S. against
Broadcasts from the villages
show them to have been reduced to rubble.
U.S. denials of such deaths
are simply not credible.
Even before this, the New
York Times reported
that at least several hundred civilians had been killed by U.S. airstrikes:
The cumulative accounts of
Afghan refugees in Pakistan and internally displaced people in Afghanistan
suggest that at least several hundred civilians, perhaps more, have been
killed in Afghan cities and villages since the American bombing of Taliban
and terrorist targets began nearly eight weeks ago.
The United States, which
suffered about 4000 innocent civilians killed in the September 11 terrorist
attacks, has at least 11 times the population of Afghanistan. For
Afghanistan, therefore, losing 363 people killed would be equivalent,
proportionally, to the 4000 losses we suffered.
Therefore, since Afghanistan
has already suffered far more than 363 innocent civilian deaths from U.S.
air strikes on that country, the U.S. has killed far more Afghans,
proportionally, than the U.S. suffered killed at the hands of Osama bin
Laden on September 11.
The U.S. did not have to
inflict a WTC-level of civilian mass murder on Afghanistan. We could
have bombed from lower altitudes to significantly lessen the amount of
misdirected targeting. We could have avoided hitting from the air
targets located right next to concentrations of civilians.
We didn't do so because of
our unwillingness to put an American soldier in harm's way if we could avoid
doing so by sacrificing Afghan civilians.
And make no mistake about it,
that was the precise calculation being made.
By bombing from high altitude
out of the range of Taliban anti-aircraft fire, we knew for an absolute
certainty that a percentage of our bombs would go astray, and that a
percentage of our targeting coordinates would be mistaken or erroneously
entered. We knew with 100% assurance that this course of military
strategy would dramatically increase the number of babies, children, women
and old men killed by our bombs and missiles.
But we chose this route
because it would also mean no Americans would be harmed.
We criticize terrorists for
hiding behind the skirts of civilians. Isn't that what we, in effect,
have done: sacrificing civilians to avoid harm to our military personnel?
Our armed forces are composed
of volunteers who signed up to defend their country. They voluntarily
assumed the risk of death. I believe they are all extremely brave men
and women. I believe most, if not all of them -- if given the choice
-- would choose to fight and risk harm to themselves, rather than
deliberately kill innocent Afghan civilians to protect themselves.
Our military leaders are to
blame for this shameful military strategy, not the troops.
Our military leaders should
be held accountable for their terrorist strategy of killing Afghan civilians
to protect our troops.
But, as we all know, they
[UPDATE: study shows over 3500 bombing deaths!]