Incomprehensible Incompetence: U.S.
Bombs the Same Clearly-Marked Red Cross Warehouse A Second Time
October 29, 2001
You may have heard something
about this incident, but the details are what make it really outrageous.
About two weeks ago, U.S.
a Red Cross warehouse in Kabul, despite the fact that the warehouse roof was
painted with a big red cross inside a white circle.
After expressing the
customary hollow "regrets" for U.S. bombs going astray, officials
said they hadn't known the buildings were used to store food and relief
To avoid a similar
occurrence, the Red Cross met
with the Pentagon to give them details concerning where that organization
has facilities in Afghanistan.
So what happens?
Shortly thereafter, two Navy
fighter bombers and two B-52's drop
eight 2,000-pound, laser-guided bombs onto that same Red Cross installation.
Thankfully there were no
casualties, but for 55,000 disabled Afghans in Kabul, it was a disaster:
this was the Red Cross's sole facility for their food and blankets, and
these supplies were all but destroyed.
Heads should roll for this
unbelievable level of incompetence. The official U.S. excuse is that
there was "a human error in the targeting process," that somewhere
in the decision chain, someone forgot to take the Red Cross warehouse off
the target list.
forgot?" This isn't an error where a food item is left off a
banquet table. This is a life-and-death type of decision.
Lest anyone try to make the
"heated conditions of combat" excuse, such is decidedly not the
case here: an officer at an air operations center in Saudi Arabia, and then
officials at Central Command in Tampa, Florida are the ones involved in
drawing up the target lists.
Haven't these military
personnel ever heard of double-checking things? Especially after the
warehouse was hit the first time, you would think that those involved in the
"targeting process" would be triple- and quadruple-checking to
make sure no more Red Cross targets are hit. And no one entering the
coordinates for the laser-guided bombs noticed they were the same numbers as
were in error before?
But wait, it gets better.
On one of the first days of
bombing, U.S. warplanes mistakenly hit
a UN-associated mine-clearing organization, killing four people. It
turns that out that late last week, another U.N. office for removing
land mines was hit, destroying two vehicles there.
Why do our bombs keep
"accidentally" hitting U.N. facilities?
Finally, the topper: even
when the military royally screwed up by targeting that Red Cross warehouse a
second time, they couldn't even screw up accurately: some of the bombs
missed the Red Cross installation and hit a residential neighborhood
Is this Keystone Kops type
stuff, or what?
But I shouldn't be
flippant. Targeting errors and errant bombs have killed -- at the
least -- dozens of innocent civilians, possibly many times that.
What's really almost too
horrible to contemplate is what must be happening all the rest of the time
when the military is not even trying as "hard" to be accurate as
they supposedly were when they bombed the Red Cross warehouse a second time.
A good indication is provided
by this Reuters
report of a bombing atrocity yesterday:
A U.S. bomb flattened a
flimsy mud-brick home in Kabul Sunday blowing apart seven children as they
ate breakfast with their father
The blast shattered a
neighbor's house killing another two children in one of the most gruesome
scenes of Washington's three-week-old bombing of the Afghan capital.
Why doesn't our military concentrate on attacking Taliban troops in the field,
so this war can be more rapidly concluded?
Or are they just trying to
drag things out in order to squeeze in some more "live-fire,"