February 23, 2010
12:41 PM

Kucinich Challenges Sec. Gates on Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - February 23 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a vocal critic of the war in Afghanistan, yesterday wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates demanding information on the decision-making process and the underlying intelligence that led to a NATO attack on a civilian convoy. Media reports indicate that 27 civilians were killed, including women and children and many more were injured.

“The U.S. government has an obligation to protect civilians under international law.  As Secretary of Defense, you have an obligation to ensure that all military operations conducted in Afghanistan are conducted in accordance to such laws... 

“Please provide information about the events leading up to the air strike … a detailed description of how it was determined that the civilians traveling by minibus were Taliban insurgents, and the protocol for ordering this airstrike and all other airstrikes,” wrote Kucinich in the letter. 

Kucinich demanded a response within two weeks, citing “the gravity of the situation and the tragic loss of life.” Kucinich added, “The United States must demonstrate a clear commitment to protecting civilian lives in Afghanistan, and the results of this investigation are vital to ensure that an adequate system of oversight and accountability is in place.”

Kucinich warned, “If necessary, I will direct the request for information via a Resolution of Inquiry in the House of Representatives.”  A Resolution of Inquiry is a procedure to force a House vote to force the release of documents from the Executive Branch.  Under House Rules, a Resolution of Inquiry must be referred to committee and acted upon within 14 legislative days. 

Read the full letter here.


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