Call it a Massacre, Not a Mistake
Yesterday, as many as 150 people were killed by US warplanes while they were huddled in their houses in Farah, Afghanistan.
So today, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with President Obama, US officials in Afghanistan are heading to the site of the latest US massacre.
That's not a word we often use to describe the mass killing of
civilians by US forces. Instead, reports of Afghan civilian casualties
are followed by a now-routine pattern of official denials, self-investigations and apologies.
Yesterday's killings are now in the self-investigation phase, in case
you're wondering. The denial phase was short because villagers who
survived the attack trucked about 30 mangled corpses of children, women
and other non-combatants to their local governor's office in order to
prove that civilians had been killed.
Soon enough we'll be hearing the official "regrets." I don't want to
hear them. I'm sick of the twisted logic that allows the US military to
drop bombs on people and then claim it was a mistake when the bombs
land on people. You don't deliberately do something with a known
outcome and then get to call the result a mistake.
A massacre is a large-scale, indiscriminate killing; which is precisely
the known outcome of the US air strikes in Afghanistan. So let's call
this a massacre. And let's work to end the air strikes before another
Afghan family has to hear how sorry the US military is.
Yifat Susskind is MADRE's Policy and Communications Director.