Posts Tagged ‘civilians killed’

Did God speak to the former US President G. W. Bush? Some reflections

August 8, 2015

Nasir Khan, August 8, 2015

“God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”
— George W. Bush, quoted in Lancaster New Era, July 16, 2004

Such was the claim of the former US President. He said this after the US armed forces had invaded and occupied two large countries, Afghanistan and Iraq. At that time, he was the most powerful leader of the mighty militarist superpower as well as a ‘divinely’ elevated person because God communicated with him. To my knowledge, in modern history we do not find another instance when a mortal man and the immortal God joined forces for U.S. to unleash two destructive wars! However, the implications of his pronouncements had a direct bearing on his political stature and his policies. Even though, he made his policies and issued his executive orders with the help of his close neoconservative advisers and secretaries but in doing so he was doing God’s work. God was speaking through him; therefore, God mandated whatever he did. God had chosen the right man to do His work!

If we accept the claims of divine guidance, for the sake of argument, that he, in fact, made on many times, then we can point to the results he achieved by his genocidal wars. Under his leadership, the US armed forces invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq in the most brutal way. They killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghans who had no quarrel with the people of the United States or posed any threat to the global U.S. hegemony and power. The destruction of Iraq was systematic. The Bush administration undertook the destruction of Iraqi state and its infrastructure as a necessary step to imposing the imperial diktat in the Middle East. It uprooted the social and administrative structure of Iraq and replaced it with sectarian puppet regimes that followed the orders of Washington and the Pentagon.

To make the imperial take-over easy and to neutralise any resistance to the new geopolitical order in this vast and oil-rich country, imperial masters used sectarian discord of the population as a convenient tool. How did it matter to Bush if Sunni and Shia turned against each other and started terrorist violence against their own people – the people of Iraq? Religious fanatics and miscreants were free to weaken Iraq while the occupiers could have an easy task to control the country and its resources. Thus, the US occupation could continue with greater ease while the country was drenched in bloodshed and mayhem that is still going on.

Through his destructive policies in the occupied Iraq, the Bush administration destabilised the whole region and played with the lives of millions of Iraqis by reducing them to destitution, poverty, homelessness and helplessness. The rampant killings in Iraq have claimed the lives of uncountable victims. In the first 7 years of US occupation, about 1.3 million Iraqi died. The main source of this incredible catastrophe that engulfed Iraq in 2003 was the US invasion. The ultimate responsibility of the present cycle of violence and bloodshed remains with Mr Bush.

Mr Bush’s military invasion and occupation of Afghanistan resulted in large-scale deaths of Afghans. The brutal treatment of the prisoners of war and the innocent victims in the process of occupying Afghanistan is a dark chapter in the history of twenty-first century. The occupying power violated the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war, international humanitarian conventions and all norms of international law. All this happened because God said to Bush to do so! In fact, this is a preposterous assertion that even Al Capone would not have resorted to! Let us take a common sense view of his claim and its consequences. What that means is that the former president is not responsible for the wars and war crimes but someone else is! In legal terms, he is implying that God is vicariously responsible for his wars and war crimes. In this way, he absolves himself of any responsibility for his actions and his policies as the head of US Government! A very convenient but cheap method to deceive the world, no doubt!

There is no need for us to enter into any lengthy theological discourse on God and his attributes. It is common knowledge that most believers see God as a kind, merciful and loving power. For having such attributes, believers hold Him in high respect and praise Him. It is hard to think that the Heavenly Father, as Christians call God, could have asked or encouraged Mr Bush to start major wars of aggression and commit the most heinous crimes against other weaker nations in this century. In brief, to impute such designs to God or because of fulfilling a mission from God is a reprehensible act on the part of Mr Bush. In the eyes of any sincere believers, he is maligning God in a vicious way if he believes in Him as he seemingly professes to do.

Alternatively, what if he really believed in what he asserted about God? That is something, which we can look at cursorily from a legal point of view. In criminal law, the actions of the alleged offenders are primarily judged for the mens rea – that is, their state of mind and intentions when they committed some indictable offence. In some cases, they are entitled to the defence of diminished responsibility or diminished capacity if their mental condition was impaired in such a way that they did not fully understand what they did. If such a defence is successful, the accused are given mitigated sentences or sent for medical treatment, depending on the gravity of offences involved. In an old case of acute insanity, one person beheaded a sleeping man just to see what he would do when woke up in the morning but didn’t find his head!

There are many cases when people hear sounds or messages from some unknown sources exhorting them to do something that may amount to a criminal offence. A hallucination is a perception that is not based on objective reality. It is very much a subjective condition of mind and in this condition, people may see or visualise things that having nothing to do with reality. In this age, we come across cases when some people say they have heard God or God has given them some message. If Mr Bush is sincere in his claims about God speaking to him, then that is something for which only the professional psychologists can offer their expert views.

In case  a judicial miracle (which I don’t see taking place!) takes place and the world sees the former US president, G.W. Bush, being prosecuted for his wars and the alleged war crimes in a court of law then the question of hallucinations would certainly be an issue in any legal process. However, facts point to a different direction: That he acted with deliberation and premeditation in pursuing his policies and his destructive wars.

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Indian troops kill 72 Kashmiris in August: Report

September 1, 2010
Indian troops killed 72 Kashmiris including 31 teenagers and four women during August, a Kashmiri news agency reported.

World Bulletin / News Desk, Sep 1, 2010

Indian troops killed 72 Kashmiris including 31 teenagers and four women during  August, a Kashmiri news agency reported.

The Himalayan region is at the heart of a decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan, who have fought two of their three wars over the issue since they won freedom from British rule in 1947.

According to the data compiled by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, of those people three were killed in custody.

Kashmiris see India as an “occupier” and accuse the ruling of systematic violations, killing dozens of civilians in Himalayan region.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have been killed since pro-independent moves grew against Indian rule in 1989.

The Indian troops also damaged a residential house during the month, according to the report.

On Tuesday, Indian forces fired and wounded five civilians in Maisuma neighborhood of Srinagar. Five people were injured Monday when police fired on a group of men playing a board game, local residents said and called the shooting unprovoked.

Human rights workers have complained for years that innocent people have disappeared, been killed by government forces in staged gunbattles, and suspected rebels have been arrested and never heard from again. Authorities routinely investigate such allegations, but prosecutions have been rare.

Authorities deny any systematic violations and say all reports are investigated and the guilty punished.

Pakistanis says US drone kill 12 civilians including kids

May 22, 2010
At least six people have been killed in a U.S. drone missile attack in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

At least six people have been killed in a U.S. drone missile attack in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Saturday.

But residents in the area said 12 people, including four women and two children, were killed. They said those killed were civilians and were from the same family.

The missiles struck a house around midnight in a village about 25 km (15 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, the officials said.

Six women and two children were also wounded in the attack and being treated at a hospital in Miranshah, one witness said.

More than 900 people have been killed in over 100 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008.

U.S. ally Pakistan officially objects to the drone strikes, saying they are a violation of its sovereignty, which complicates Pakistan’s efforts against militancy.

It was the fifth drone missile strike in northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan, since a failed bid to set off a car bomb in New York’s Times Square on May 1.

Reuters

Reuters: Civilian casualties rising in Afghanistan

May 13, 2010
Reuters,  May 12, 2010

* Ninety civilians killed in January to April period

* Deaths up from 2009 despite efforts to avoid killings

WASHINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) – The number of civilians killed by U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has risen this year, despite efforts to limit fallout from the widening war against the Taliban, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Citing NATO statistics, the Pentagon said U.S. and NATO forces killed 90 civilians from January to April — a 76 percent rise from the 51 deaths in the same period of 2009.

The increase demonstrates the difficulty of shielding Afghans from violence as the United States pours thousands more troops into Afghanistan to challenge the Taliban, often in strongholds where insurgents hide among the population.

The U.S. military has made reducing civilian casualties an explicit goal of its revised Afghan strategy, given that popular support for NATO and Afghan forces is ultimately needed to isolate the Taliban and win the war.

President Barack Obama restated the goal on Wednesday, saying the United States was doing everything possible to avoid killing “somebody who’s not on the battlefield.” [ID:nN12185754]

“Our troops put themselves at risk, oftentimes, in order to reduce civilian casualties,” Obama told a joint news conference in Washington with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“Oftentimes they’re holding fire, they’re hesitating, they’re being cautious about how they operate, even though it would be safer for them to go ahead and just take these locations out.”

Many of the deaths appeared to be related to several high-profile incidents, top among them an air strike in February that a NATO official said killed 23 civilians.

The NATO official, commenting on the numbers, stressed the increase in killings must be seen in the context of a larger U.S. fighting force that is directly engaging the Taliban in former strongholds.

The United Nations says foreign and Afghan troops killed 25 percent fewer civilians in 2009 than during the previous year. But civilian deaths rose overall because the number killed by insurgents climbed 40 percent. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by John O’Callaghan)

Officials: NATO forces kill four Afghan school students The Education Ministry said in a statement that the four dead were students, aged 11 to 17.

April 22, 2010

Uruknet.info, April 20, 2010

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

20killed_by_nato_khost_apr20_10.jpg
The body of a child lies in a coffin decorated with flowers in Khost province on April 20, 2010. Four children were killed April 19 in crossfire between foreign soldiers and insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, the education ministry said on April 20. (Photo: Getty Images)

April 20, 2010 – DPA

Kabul – Afghan officials said Tuesday that NATO forces shot dead four Afghan school students, but NATO said those killed were Taliban militants and their associates.

The incident happened around three kilometres south of Khost city, the capital of the south-eastern province of Khost, on Monday night, Mubarez Mohammad Zadran, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told the German Press Agency dpa.

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Contractor Deaths Accelerating in Afghanistan as They Outnumber Soldiers

April 15, 2010
by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica – April 14, 2010

In this photograph taken  Jan. 31, 2007, Afghan men are trained by U.S. military contractors  during a exercise in the southern town of Qalat, the capital of Zabul  province. A new government report shows the number of contractor deaths  in Afghanistan has increased in recent months. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty  Images)
In this photograph taken Jan. 31, 2007, Afghan men are trained by U.S. military contractors during a exercise in the southern town of Qalat, the capital of Zabul province. A new government report shows the number of contractor deaths in Afghanistan has increased in recent months. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

A recent Congressional Research Service analysis [1] obtained by ProPublica looked at the number of civilian contractors killed in Afghanistan in recent months. It’s not pretty.

Of the 289 civilians killed since the war began more than eight years ago, 100 have died in just the last six months. That’s a reflection of both growing violence and the importance of the civilians flooding into the country along with troops in response to President Obama’s decision to boost the American presence in Afghanistan.

The latest U.S. Department of Defense numbers show there are actually more civilian contractors on the ground in Afghanistan than there are soldiers. The Pentagon reported [2] 107,292 U.S.-hired civilian workers in Afghanistan as of February 2010, when there were about 78,000 soldiers. This is apparently the first time that contractors have exceeded soldiers by such a large margin.

Using civilian contractors to haul food, prepare meals and act as bodyguards has kept the Pentagon’s official casualty figures lower than they would have been in past conflicts, where contractors were not as heavily used.

Contractor casualties are, by and large, invisible to the public, disguising the full human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are not reported in totals given by the government. If they were, the death toll in Afghanistan would have surpassed 1,000 — 848 soldiers, 289 civilian contractors — from 2001 to 2009, a milestone that has gone entirely unmarked.

The number of contractor dead are released only through the Labor Department, which keeps count as part of an insurance program for contractors known as the Defense Base Act. And these numbers, agency officials have admitted and our reporting has shown, undercount fatalities. As David Isenberg [3] pointed out in the Huffington Post recently, a new database designed, in part, to track contractor deaths is still not being used to do so.

Staff researcher Lisa Schwartz contributed to this report.

War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan

April 14, 2010
Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation, April 13, 2010

War crimes, massacres, and, as Al Jazeera properly calls it, “collateral murder,” are all part of the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

The release last week of the Wikileaks video, thirty-eight grisly minutes long, of US airmen casually slaughtering a dozen Iraqis in 2007 — including two Reuters newsmen — puts it into focus not because it shows us something we didn’t know, but because we can watch it unfold in real time. Real people, flesh and blood, gunned down from above in a hellish rain of fire.

The events in Iraq, nearly three years old, were repeated this week in Afghanistan, when trigger-happy US soldiers slaughtered five Afghans cruising along on a huge, comfortable civilian bus near Kandahar.

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Evidence Mounts NATO Report Lied on Afghan Civilian Killings

March 13, 2010

Rear Admiral Smith Admits No Evidence of Claimed ‘Firefight’

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com,  March 12, 2010

The February 12 night raid against a house party in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province remains shrouded in mystery, but NATO’s official story appears to be crumbling as even NATO officials concede that the claims made were not strictly true.

NATO’s official statement claimed at the time that the raid on the home led to a “fire fight” against “several insurgents” who were killed, before NATO made a “gruesome discovery” of bound and gagged bodies in a nearby room.

NATO is conceding now that all of the slain people were civilians killed in the raid. NATO communications direct Rear Admiral Greg Smith also admitted that they had no real evidence that the men slain at the home had ever fired a shot against the NATO forces.

Witnesses at the site reported that one of the people in the compound, a local policeman, shouted “don’t fire, we work for the government” before being gunned down by the invading forces.

Rear Admiral Smith defended the killing of the policeman, however, saying “if you have got an individual stepping out of a compound, and if your assault force is there, that is often the trigger to neutralise (read: kill) the individual. You don’t have to be fired upon to fire back.

Since the incident, all those detained by NATO have been released without charges. In addition, the US has reportedly paid $2,000 to the family for each of the civilians killed in the attack.

Nato raid kills at least 33 Afghan civilians

February 22, 2010
Al Jazeera, Feb 22, 2010
Uruzgan is policed by Dutch soldiers whose imminent
departure poses a challenge to Nato [AFP]

Aghanistan government officials say at least 33 civilians have been killed by a Nato air attack on a convoy of vehicles in Uruzgan, a province in the country’s south.

Nato confirmed that it fired on Sunday on a group of vehicles that it believed contained fighters, only to discover later that women and children were in the cars.

Isaf, Nato’s force in Afghanistan, did not provide a figure of how many died.

Earlier, Amanullah Hothaki, the head of the provincial council for Uruzgan, said 19 people were killed in the attack, which hit three minibuses as they drove down a main road.

A 15,000-strong joint force of Afghan, Nato and US troops is battling the Taliban in Marjah, a town in neighbouring Helmand province, where the fighters have been in control for years.

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More civilian deaths as US launches offensive in southern Afghanistan

February 15, 2010

By Patrick Martin, wsws.org, Feb 15, 2010

In what is likely to be the first of many such atrocities, two US military rockets slammed into a house near Marjah, the target of the current offensive, killing 12 people. US military authorities admitted that the victims were innocent civilians sheltering in their own home, as they had been advised to do by US and NATO officials.

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