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Wikileaks shows international hypocrisy over Israel

November 24, 2016 22:56

So, courtesy of Wikileaks, we once again have evidence of the enormous number of civilian casualties killed by US/Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The details are not pretty:

Some of these casualties come from the controversial air strikes that have led to Afghan government protests, but a large number of previously unknown incidents also appear to be the result of troops shooting unarmed drivers or motorcyclists out of a determination to protect themselves from suicide bombers.

At least 195 civilians are admitted to have been killed and 174 wounded in total, but this is likely to be an underestimate as many disputed incidents are omitted from the daily snapshots reported by troops on the ground and then collated, sometimes erratically, by military intelligence analysts.

Bloody errors at civilians' expense, as recorded in the logs, include the day French troops strafed a bus full of children in 2008, wounding eight. A US patrol similarly machine-gunned a bus, wounding or killing 15 of its passengers, and in 2007 Polish troops mortared a village, killing a wedding party including a pregnant woman, in an apparent revenge attack.

Questionable shootings of civilians by UK troops also figure. The US compilers detail an unusual cluster of four British shootings in Kabul in the space of barely a month, in October/November 2007, culminating in the death of the son of an Afghan general. Of one shooting, they wrote: "Investigation controlled by the British. We are not able to get [sic] complete story."

A second cluster of similar shootings, all involving Royal Marine commandos in Helmand province, took place in a six-month period at the end of 2008, according to the log entries.

As I have stated here before, I believe that civilian casualties are part and parcel of any war and - whilst always tragic - are not necessarily evidence of neglect or of deliberate targeting of civilians (of course, sometimes it is). So unlike the Guardian, for example, I don't see all of this as evidence that the campaign is immoral.

But I can't help wondering how the "international community" would have reacted had Israel been accused of similar actions. Many people, at the moment, are focused on the question of whether the documents should have been leaked, entirely skirting the implications of what they actually say; the American administration is currently busy brushing off responsibility, emphasising that this was all under George W's watch. Because yes, this stuff has been going on for years with hardly anyone showing any concern at all; for all the Guardian's fury now, it has taken it years to work itself into this lather of righteous indignation. The numbers were there ages ago, if only they had wanted to see them.

Meanwhile, Israel is being put through investigation after investigation following Operation Cast Lead and the flotilla affair - forced to answer for every civilian killed under its watch. Funny that.

November 24, 2016 22:56

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