Saturday, February 13, 2010

Operation Moshtarak and killing civilians

With the news that  "Operation Moshtarak" is underway, it would appear that "our" nobel peace prize holder, in his capacity as Commander in Chief, has started his much heralded slaughter. Moreover, with the 'Times' telling us that only some 1,000 Taleban insurgents are thought to be in Marjah, a town which has a population of 80,000, we have every reason to believe military officials when they say that "civilian casualties are inevitable."

However, this time when the dust has, at least temporarily, settled, we will have a new promise to accompany the nonsensical "objectives achieved", "mission accomplished" fanfare which Washington and London normally disseminates through the daily drivel. This time the Americans and British are also emphasising that a sustainable presence will be established; a presence which will faciliate development, reconstruction and the establishment of a strong administration. What a prospect and while we might expect the more resourceful of the Taleban not to come out with guns blazing, we can be equally sure that there will be no change in a policy of killing ten civilians to get one Taleban in a part of the country where the people are very much on the side of the insurgency and already have no faith in the man with the shawls and his cronies in Kabul. Yes, we might wonder what welcome the government in Kabul will get when it arrives in a "Taleban free" Marjah to govern.

Finally, there was an interesting piece of deduction from the alternative news platform, 'truthout' which wrote: "Today, AFP reported, military helicopters dropped leaflets over Marjah as radio broadcasts "warned residents not to shelter Taliban ahead of a massive assault." Doesn't this suggest that the invading US forces may regard any civilian alleged to be "sheltering Taliban" as a legitimate target?" However, under the laws of war civilians have to be protected and if this cannot be done there should be no assault, which is why, should the attack on Marjah result in civilian deaths, we will have another major war crime. The news from Marjah is that war crimes are once again being committed by coalition troops.

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