collateral damage

the Web Editors 7-20-2016

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

A strike by U.S. jets nearly 60civilians on July 19 after mistaking them for ISIS fighters, reports The Telegraph.

Before being killed, eight families were fleeing their village of Tokhar in order to escape fighting between ISIS and the U.S.-backed rebels known as the Syria Democratic Forces, according to the reports.

Kathy Kelly 11-24-2014
Photo via UK Ministry of Defence / Flickr.com

Photo via UK Ministry of Defence / Flickr.com

News agencies reported Saturday morning that weeks ago President Obama signed an order, kept secret until now, to authorize continuation of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan for at least another year. The order authorizes U.S. airstrikes “to support Afghan military operations in the country” and U.S. ground troops to continue normal operations, which is to say, to “occasionally accompany Afghan troops” on operations against the Taliban.

The administration, in its leak to the New York Times, affirmed that there had been “heated debate” between Pentagon advisers and others in Obama’s cabinet chiefly concerned not to lose soldiers in combat. Oil strategy isn't mentioned as having been debated and neither is further encirclement of China, but the most notable absence in the reporting was any mention of cabinet members’ concern for Afghan civilians affected by air strikes and ground troop operations, in a country already afflicted by nightmares of poverty and social breakdown.

While the concern for civilians may have been discussed even if not reported, it’s worth pointing out some of the suffering people on the ground continue to experience.  Here are just three events, excerpted from an August 2014 Amnesty International report, which President Obama and his advisors should ha considered (and allowed into a public debate) before once more expanding the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan:

Lisa Schirch 12-11-2013

The long war has made clear the fantasty of firepower "solutions" to complex political problems.

Duane Shank 6-05-2013

Under Christian ethics, drone warfare is neither just nor moral.

Jim Rice 8-01-2012

Drone, Oleg Yarko / Shutterstock.com

Hey Pres. Obama: The Nobel Peace Prize committee is calling. They want their medal back.

Shane Claiborne 2-01-2012
Artwork by the artist Banksy. Photo by Shane Claiborne.

Artwork by the artist Banksy. Photo by Shane Claiborne.

Today I was catching up on emails and came across two messages that deeply affected me, maybe because I read them back-to-back. 

The first one is from a friend who helped release the “Collateral Murder” video via Wikileaks, showing US troops shooting some unarmed folks in Baghdad, including two children sitting in a van as their family stopped to pick up the wounded and dead.  It is one of the most disturbing and heartbreaking videos I’ve ever seen. Feel free not to watch it.

NOTE:  If you do watch the video inside the blog, please know that it is contains vivid images of war. It was released here: 

The other email message I read was just the opposite. It was about life.

Jim Wallis 5-06-2011
There is no more room or time for excuses.
Jim Wallis 7-01-2010
After his unanimous approval by the Senate Armed Services Committee as the new Afghan war commander, General David Petraeus was pictured in The Washington Post with a broad smile and thu
Jim Wallis 11-19-2009

Your voice is being heard. Already, thousands of you have signed a letter and contacted the White House urging a new way forward in Afghanistan.

Jim Wallis 10-29-2009
We've all been watching carefully as the Obama administration tries to decide how to move forward on U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
Jess Hunter-Bowman 4-08-2009
In July 2007, Teresa Ortega stood solemnly in a field of wilting corn and pineapple crops in southern Colombia's farm land as tears streamed down her cheeks.

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