Revolution #206, July 4, 2010
War Crimes…and the Promise of More
Barack Obama on dismissing General Stanley McChrystal:
“I don't make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy…. I've got great admiration for him and for his long record of service in uniform.”
This long record includes:
- Last July, an air assault on the village of Shawalikot, about 20 miles north of Kandahar, killed four civilians and injured 13, including women and children. (“U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan tests McChrystal's new order,” McClatchy newspapers, 7/17/09)
- February 12, this year, a nighttime raid by U.S. Special Operations forces near Gardez, killed five people, including two pregnant women. The soldiers dug their own bullets out of the women’s bodies to destroy evidence. Eleven days later, a NATO air strike killed 27 civilians and wounded 12, including women and children. ("U.S. special forces 'tried to cover-up' botched Khataba raid in Afghanistan," London Times, 4/5/10; “U.S. airstrike kills at least 27 Afghan civilians,” Washington Post, 2/23/10).
- April 12, U.S.-led forces raked a large passenger bus with gunfire killing five people, according to the local governor, and wounding 18 more. (“Civilians Killed as U.S. Troops Fire on Afghan Bus,” New York Times, 4/12/10)
- According to Afghan government officials, U.S. air strikes in Farah province on May 4 killed between 100 and 200 civilians. (“US air strikes kill dozens of Afghan civilians,” UK Guardian, 5/6/09)
- June 19—four days before McChrystal’s dismissal—10 civilians, including at least five women and children, were killed in airstrikes in the Khost province in Afghanistan. (“Afghan Civilians Said to Be Killed in an Airstrike,” New York Times, 6/19/10)
McChrystal approved a more than four-fold increase in night raid operations, from 20 in May of last year to 90 in November. Civilian deaths rose dramatically. Night raids caused more than half of the nearly 600 civilian deaths attributable to U.S./coalition forces in 2009, according to United Nations and Afghan government estimates.
In fact it should be no surprise that such atrocities happened under McChrystal’s command in Afghanistan. All this was part and parcel of the “surge” strategy he oversaw in Iraq.
And General Petraeus, who Obama picked to take McChrystal’s place, is another big war criminal. In announcing that Petraeus was taking over in Afghanistan, Obama declared, “Let me say to the American people, this is a change in personnel but it is not a change in policy. General Petraeus fully participated in our review last fall, and he both supported and helped design the strategy that we have in place.”
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