by Stephen Lendman
It doesn't surprise. When America goes to war or plans one, Times editors march in lockstep. They support imperial lawlessness. More on that below.
America's AfPak war is illegal. Tactics include targeted killings. Drones, helicopters and other conventional air strikes are used.
On April 8, Russia Today headlined "Twelve civilians, including 11 children killed in Afghanistan NATO strike," saying:
Civilians were killed in Kunar province's Shigal district. Provincial spokesman Wasifullah Wasifi said:
"Eleven children and a woman were killed when an air strike hit their houses."
A NATO spokesman dismissively said accusations of civilian casualties are under investigation. Washington downplays civilian deaths. Investigations whitewash them.
America blames victims for US crimes. Civilians are murdered with impunity.
Populated areas are targeted. According to Afghan military analyst Amrullah Aman:
"Government officials might tell you that Afghan and foreign forces only have the right to use airstrikes in unpopulated areas, but in practice it is different."
"Americans use (them) whenever they (wish), no matter (what areas are struck), and no matter how many presidential decrees are issued."
Eleven and a half years of AfPak war killed thousands of innocent civilians. Many others suffer debilitating injuries, displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, and extreme deprivation in virtually all aspects of their lives.
Daily life reflects occupation violence. Vital services are absent. Afghanistan's human development indicators are some of the world's worst.
Wherever America shows up, mass killings, destruction and incalculable human misery follow. After endless years of war and occupation, Afghans perhaps suffer most of all.
Those displaced lack virtually everything necessary to survive - housing, water, sanitation, healthcare, education, employment, enough income, and sufficient food to avoid starvation. Neither America or its puppet government provide help.
Targeted killings exacerbate human misery. Innocent civilians suffer most. No one's sure from day to day who'll live or die.
In mid-February, another NATO eastern Afghanistan airstrike killed 10 civilians. Five were children. Another five were wounded. Four women died. A Sultan valley Kunar province home was struck.
NATO refused to acknowledge responsibility. Spokesman Major Gary Allen said:
"We are looking into allegations of civilian casualties, and we are assessing the circumstances. I cannot even confirm the raid or air strike. We are trying to assess what exactly did happen."
He lied. He knows full well what happened. It repeats with deadly regularity. Drones, helicopters and other aircraft kill innocent men, women and children.
They're instruments of state terror. They operate round the clock. They're "evil things," said one villager. "(Y)ou don't see them but all the time you hear them. Night and day we hear this sound and then the bombardment starts."
Drones are Washington's favorite weapon of choice. They sanitize killing on the cheap. Virtual war kills like sport. Teams of remote control warriors operate computer keyboards and multiple monitors. They target faceless enemies half a world away or nearby.
Last year's Stanford University International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic (SU)/New York University School of Law's Global Justice Clinic (NYU) report examined the effects of drone killings.
Congress never debated or approved them. Legal experts say using them sets a dangerous precedent. UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns said:
"Our concern is how far it goes? Will the whole world be a theatre of war?"
Drones hover 24 hours a day. They terrorize ordinary people. They cause anxiety and emotional trauma. Populated communities are targeted. Homes, vehicles and public spaces are struck without warning. Death and destruction follow.
Living under drones render people helpless. They're powerless. Their fears are well justified. Victims are left in pieces or incinerated. Traditional burials are impossible.
Official statements about drones and conventional air strikes keeping America safer don't wash. At most, only 2% of victims are high-level combatants.
Evidence suggests that US strikes facilitate anti-American recruitment. Most Afghans and Pakistanis consider America the enemy. They do so for good reason.
SU/NYU's report said Washington must conduct "a fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices, taking into account all available evidence, the concerns of various stakeholders, and the short and long-term costs and benefits."
A "significant rethinking (is) long overdue." Innocent people suffer real harm. Coverup and denial no longer wash. Don't expect Times editors to explain. They support imperial lawlessness.
On April 7, they headlined "The Trouble With Drones," saying:
"Right now, the Pentagon handles drones in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, where the CIA runs a separate program."
Times editors left what readers most need to know unaddressed. America's war is lawless. So are drone killings.
Discussion focused solely on which government agency should run operations. Times editors favor shifting them to Pentagon responsibility. They said nothing about ending them altogether. Omission implies legitimacy.
On March 9, The Times headlined "How a US Citizen Came to Be in America's Cross Hairs."
It discussed Anwar al-Awlaki. America killed him in cold blood. Several times earlier attempts to do so failed. He violated no law. He committed no crimes. He was uncharged. He was denied due process and judicial fairness.
With no justification whatever, he was designated a "global terrorist." Murder, Inc. is official US policy. Summary judgment means all rights denied.
Obama's secret kill list designates victims for death. He appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. Diktats decide who lives or dies. Anyone called Al Qaeda or accused of terrorist connections gets marked for death.
The Times said:
"By the time the missile found him, (al-Awlaki) had been under the scrutiny of American officials for more than a decade."
According to TimesThink, his language and beliefs were "anti-American." He was dangerous. He represented an "imminent" threat.
Despite no evidence suggesting his involvement in violence or other crimes, The Times said "Mr. Awlaki was probably involved." He was guilty by accusation.
Murdering him was justified. Killing his 16-year old son was a "tragic error." Instead of explaining US lawlessness, The Times ran cover for what deserved condemnation.
It's standard Times policy. It's irresponsible. It repeats with shameless regularity. Don't expect apologies to follow.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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