A War for Empire
Afghanistan: Not a Good War Gone Bad
By LARRY EVEREST
For the people of Azizabad, a small village in western Afghanistan, the dark early morning hours of August 22, 2008 suddenly turned into a nightmare of devastation and death. As villagers slept, U.S. forces attacked—first with guns, then air strikes. By the next morning, according to UN investigators, over 90 people had been massacred, including 60 children and 15 women.
The U.S. military initially claimed they had hit a "legitimate" Taliban target, that only 5 to 7 civilians were killed—so-called "collateral damage"—and the other 30 to 35 dead were Taliban militants. These were lies.
Journalists who traveled to the village reported: "At the battle scene, shell craters dotted the courtyards and shrapnel had gouged holes in the walls. Rooms had collapsed and mud bricks and torn clothing lay in uneven mounds where people had been digging. In two places blood was splattered on a ceiling and a wall....The smell of bodies lingered in one compound, causing villagers to start digging with spades. They found the body of a baby, caked in dust, in the corner of a bombed-out room." Survivors "described repeated strikes on houses where dozens of children were sleeping, grandparents and uncles and aunts huddled inside with them." (New York Times, September 8, 2008)
"Does this look like it fits a Taliban fighter?" one resident told NPR (August 27, 2008), holding up a tiny shoe and a woman’s torn veil.
This was the third major massacre of Afghan civilians by U.S.-NATO forces this summer alone. Since 2005, between 2,700 and 3,200 civilians are estimated to have been killed by U.S and NATO forces, whose attacks and bombing raids are escalating. And all this is just the latest example of the enormous suffering the U.S.-NATO war on Afghanistan has inflicted since it was launched seven years ago on October 7, 2001.
The U.S. military has since been forced to back off of its initial claims about Azizabad, and is supposedly conducting an "investigation." But one thing the U.S. rulers—and Bush, McCain and Obama—have not backed off of is the biggest lie of all: That the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan is a legitimate war of self-defense launched in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 and that the central goal is preventing future attacks on the U.S. And now there are calls, including from Barack Obama, to send thousands of more troops to Afghanistan.
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