December 3, 2001
It's become obvious over the last two weeks that the U.S. bombings of Afghanistan, and the actions of its sanguinary proxy, the Northern Alliance, have produced all varieties of gruesome deaths and human rights violations.
Because of the supine nature of much of the U.S. mainstream media, the foreign press has done a better job of reporting many of these atrocities.
Here's a sample: "American air raids have killed at least 70 civilians, and possibly hundreds, in a single night in the biggest bombing mistake of the war, according to pro-Western commanders in eastern Afghanistan," the London Independent reported on December 2. "The U.S. military said the bombing 'just did not happen.'
"The civilians apparently died as the result of mistargeting by B-52 bombers aiming at Al Qaeda bases in the White Mountains near Jalalabad, where Osama bin Laden is reported to be hiding."
Robert Fisk of the London Independent was in Kandahar in late November, and he interviewed relatives who lost loved ones in an earlier raid.
"Out of the a dust storm came a woman in a grey shawl. "I lost my daughter two days ago,' she wailed. 'The Americans bombed our home in Kandahar and the roof fell on her.' " She was two years old. The woman also lost her three-year-old daughter and her son, who was a year and a half.
The Toronto Star on November 28, in an article entitled "Rage Grows over War Atrocities," said there are increasing reports that the Northern Alliance "has been committing war crimes by massacring Taliban prisoners of war. . . . Eyewitness media reports document, among other incidents, the killing of 100 surrendering Taliban soldiers in Mazar-e-Sharif and the execution of Taliban fighters as they lay wounded in the streets of Kunduz."
The British press ran pictures of a Northern Alliance fighter using a long metal spike to pry out a gold tooth from the mouth of a Taliban soldier. I don't recall seeing that one in The New York Times.
Mark Baker of the Herald reported on November 30, in an article entitled "Captured Taliban lined up and shot, that: "Opposition forces battling Taliban resistance near the southern Afghan city of Kandahar are reported to have massacred up to 160 captured Taliban fighters."
The article quotes an unnamed commander who told Reuters: "We tried our best to persuade [the Taliban] to surrender before we attacked. We asked them many times, quoted the Koran, and even offered them money. They replied with abuse, so we had no choice. We executed around 160 Taliban that were captured. They were made to stand in a long line, and five or six of our fighters used light machine-guns on them."
The massacres by the Northern Alliance are covering U.S. hands with blood. For it is the United States that chose this gang of butcherers, rapists, and opium dealers as allies in the first place.
And, in the second, Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, has all but given the Northern Alliance the green light to do what it wants with the prisoners. He said the United States didn't have enough personnel to handle prisoners of war.
"The United States is not inclined to negotiate surrenders . . . nor to accept prisoners. . . . If people are trying [to surrender], we are declining. That's for the Northern Alliance, and that's for the tribes in the south to make their own judgments," Rumsfeld said, according to the Toronto Star of November 28.
The Star also noted that, "at several briefings, Rumsfeld joked about what happened to Taliban prisoners."
If this be a just war, I'd had hate to see an unjust one.