Civilian Casualties We’re Not Hearing About in the U.S.

There is a myth here in America that terrorists attacked the World Trade Center because "we’re the freest nation on Earth." If that were true, you and I would be free to read the details about the Afghanistan bombing campaign in the U.S. press. But we’re not being allowed that particular freedom.

There is a myth here in America that terrorists attacked the World Trade Center because "we’re the freest nation on Earth." If that were true, you and I would be free to read the details about the Afghanistan bombing campaign in the U.S. press. But we’re not being allowed that particular freedom.

In Britain, however, the press has been following events in some detail and reporting on the civilian casualties, the worsening humanitarian condition,
the dropping of cluster bombs on villages, the ineffectiveness of U.S. bombing on Taliban targets, the disintegration of Northern Alliance forces,
and on, and on.

Despite the selective reporting here, a huge majority of Americans — a whopping 75 percent — think that the U.S. isn’t going to capture or kill bin Laden any time soon, if ever, according to an Oct. 30 CBS-New York Times poll. Only 30 percent think that the "international alliance" will hold.

This shows how really slim American support for the war is. It’s a very small step from believing that the war is unwinnable to thinking that the war should be stopped.

How many Americans would change their minds if they could possess the freedoms that the British public takes for granted?

Here, some viewers and readers are starting to get the general impression that civilians are dying; but we generally don’t know how, or how many. Instead, we get a brief report, sans pictures of victims (another luxury seemingly available only to the foreign press). Invariably, our report concludes that the deaths "cannot be independently verified."

By all appearances, U.S. media is so busy shining the shoes (or boots) of power that it can’t do much of anything independently these days.

Here’s a rundown of some of the additional reports of civilian casualties since then. These reports all came from refugees or reporters, not from the Taliban.

For ongoing information, check the UK’s Guardian
(London Observer on Sundays); the Independent; the Daily Telegraph or the Irish Times. But whatever you do, don’t rely solely on American media to tell the whole story.

* On Oct. 18, intense bombing over Kabul killed 10 people in Kalae Zaman Khan, three people near the Kabul airport, and two civilians in Kabul’s Khair
Khana district. An 8-year-old girl perished in the Macroyan housing project. Reuters reported that all
water supplies in Kabul have been bombed out and electricity is only being supplied to select parts of the city for 15 minutes per day — not long enough for doctors to perform operations in hospitals.

* A 10-year-old Afghan boy in a Pakistani hospital describes cluster bomblets that exploded while he and his friends played near their homes in Kandahar.
Shrapnel cut a hole in his head. He doesn’t know what happened to his friends.

* On Oct. 19, a U.S. bomb struck the Sarai Shamali marketplace in Kabul and killed more than a dozen civilians.

* On Oct. 21, a U.S. bomb demolished two homes in the Khair Khana district in northern Kabul. An AP reporter saw seven dead: three women and four boys, ages eight to 13. A doctor at the nearby hospital reported a total of 13 dead from the incident, all members of the same extended family.

* At 7:20 PM, the tiny village of Doori near Kandahar was completely destroyed by two U.S. bombs. At least 25 people were killed and a 12-month-old baby
was taken to a hospital in Pakistan. His tiny, burned, cut face is broadcast on media all over the Middle East and Europe — but not in the U.S.

* A U.S. bomb fell on a tractor/trailer carrying dozens of civilians fleeing bombing in the town of Tirin Kot. At least 20 people were killed, including
nine children.

* On Oct. 22, Taliban officials said doctors in Herat and Kandahar described "a state of poisonousness" in patients injured by shrapnel. They could be referring to sickness caused by depleted uranium munitions, which produced
sickness in injured soldiers and civilians in the Gulf War, Serbia, and Kosovo.

* Also that day, Chowkar-Karez, a farming village about 40 miles north of Kandahar, was destroyed just before midnight by U.S. bombs. The Taliban
claimed 90-100 civilian dead, almost the entire population of the village; Human Rights Watch estimates 25-35. Six survivors interviewed by Human
Rights Watch were all adamant that there was nothing in their remote village that ought to have attracted the interest of the U.S. military. Other
witnesses talked to by the Western reporters claimed there were no Taliban troops in the village and that U.S. planes opened fire on people as they
attempted to flee the bombs. After Rumsfeld professed ignorance repeatedly, unidentified Pentagon officials, claiming that Chowkar-Karez was "a fully legitimate target" because it was a nest of Taliban and al-Qaeda sympathizers, eventually told CNN that "the people there are dead because we wanted them dead."

* On Oct. 23, the U.N. said a U.S. bomb demolished a military hospital in Herat. U.N. personnel confirm that civilians were often treated at that hospital. The Taliban claimed 100 killed, but no other source verifiedcasualties.

* On the same day, a cluster bomb exploded and released its bomblets in the village of Shaker Qala, near Herat. The bomblets didn’t explode; instead,
they spread out over an area the size of a football field, trapping villagers inside their homes. Eight people died from the initial explosion and one man died when he tried to pick up one of the bright, yellow bomblets, which looked like a soft-drink can.

* Qatar’s Al-Jazeera television (much maligned here in the U.S. for showing footage of bin Laden’s speeches, but widely hailed as the freest and most
comprehensive press outlet in the Middle East) reported that 93 civilians were killed by U.S. bombs in the village of Chakor Kariz, 37 miles northeast
of Kandahar, including 18 members of a single family that had fled to Chakor to escape the bombing in Kandahar. Forty people were wounded in the attack. Jazeera broadcast video footage of the dead bodies, taken by their correspondent in Kandahar. A few days later, BBC reporters visited the
village and described "a scene of total destruction…A detailed examination of the scene revealed no evidence that the village might have been used by Taleban fighters or any other reason for it to have been targeted."

* On Oct. 25, a U.S. bomb exploded near a mosque in the Ishaq Suleiman district of Herat during evening prayers; at least 20 civilians were killed.

* A doctor at the Sandeman Provincial Hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, reported that between 60 and 70 wounded Afghan civilians were arriving every day for
treatment and "there are many other hospitals in this community facing the same problem." A doctor at Al Hajeri Al Khidmat Hospital reported that most of the wounded were women and children.

* Three houses in the village of Wazir Abad, three miles west of the Kabul airport, were flattened by a U.S. bomb, killing two girls, ages six and eleven.

* U.S. planes again mistakenly bombed the Red Cross compound in Kabul, dropping eight bombs in two separate bombing runs, and destroying four
warehouses. All the buildings had large, red crosses painted on the roofs and the Red Cross had given their coordinates to the U.S. military twice —
once at the beginning of the war and again after two of the buildings were bombed on Oct. 16. Food and supplies that could have fed 55,000 people this
winter were destroyed.

* On Oct. 27, U.S. bombs fell on two civilian hamlets in Northern Alliance territory (Ghanikheil and Raqi) and one village in Taliban territory (Nikhahil), killing 12 people and injuring at least 10 others. (Ghanikheil is far behind the front lines, according to the Times of London.) This was the fifth time U.S. planes had bombed Northern Alliance territory by

* On Oct 28, a bomb flattened a house in the Qali Hotair neighborhood of Kabul, killing seven children as they were eating breakfast with their father. The blast also killed another two children in a neighboring house, one of them a two-year-old. Three more people died near the Macroyan housing
complex. A bomb fell on a bus and killed two civilians attempting to flee Kabul with their family.

* On Oct. 30, the U.S. began broadcasting radio messages to the Afghan people warning them not to mistake the cluster bomblets for the similar-looking
food packets being dropped from U.S. planes. (Both are the same color and size.) Unfortunately, almost no one in Afghanistan was hearing the broadcasts, according to BBC reporters.

* On Oct. 31, a U.S. bomb damaged a Red Crescent hospital in Kandahar, killing 15 people and severely injuring 25, including hospital staff and patients.
Two ambulances were destroyed in the attack. Red Crescent flags were flying outside the hospital and stretchers were stacked against one outside wall.

* Cluster bombs exploded in Jabraheel, littering unexploded bomblets over this suburb of Herat. At least one person died after picking up a bomblet. The Los Angeles Times (which has, so far, featured the best war reporting of any U.S. newspaper) reported that U.S. planes have begun carpet bombing all over the countryside, although the Pentagon had dubbed it "area bombing," to avoid negative connotations.

And so it goes. I’ll save November for another day; the point is, civilian deaths are happening daily, and the rest of the world is seeing them daily in the context of a campaign where nobody can really shoot back — and attacks that prevent the delivery of food to millions of people who need to get it in the next week or two or face a slow death by starvation this winter.

[ also see related items:

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ACTION ALERT: Fox: Civilian Casualties Not News –

Taliban Agreed to Bin Laden Handover in 1998 –

New (e)Book by Chomsky on 9-11 –

The War in Afghanistan 101: 47 Questions and Answers –

Channel 4 News Special Reports: Oil Rush –

The Oil Behind Bush and Son’s Campaigns –

A Crude Oil Death Commentary: ‘Greed to the Last Drop’ – id=1069

US ‘Planned Attack on Taleban’ –

Bush’s Orwellian Address – Happy New Year: It’s 1984 –

Remembering the Last U.S. Retaliation Against Terror –

Are You A Terrorist? Read the FBI’s Definition! –

Noam Chomsky On the Bombings –

MEDIA ADVISORY: Networks Accept Government “Guidance” –

Osama bin Laden 101: Understanding bin Laden – ]

Author: Geov Parrish

News Service: WorkingForChange – 11.07.01


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