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Ear to the Ground

NATO to Karzai:  Point Taken

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Posted on Jun 23, 2007
hamid karzai
AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy

NATO officials have registered Afghan President Hamad Karzai’s strong criticism of the Western coalition’s recent tactics, which have resulted in tragically high numbers of civilian deaths, and are offering conciliatory words in response.


Responding to Mr Karzai’s comments, Nato spokesman Nick Lunt said the Afghan leader’s anger was justified.

“President Karzai has a right to be disappointed and angry over the scale of civilians casualties in the last few days,” Mr Lunt was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying.

“We need to do better than we have been doing so far. But unlike the Taleban, we do not set out to cause civilian casualties, and that is a critical difference,” he said.

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By Duris Maxwell, LL.B, June 25, 2007 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment
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“President Hamad Karzai’s strong criticism of the Western coalition’s recent tactics, which have resulted in tragically high numbers of civilian deaths” in Afghanistan is astonishing on several levels.
First, where is the outrage for the “tragically high numbers of civilian deaths” in Iraq?
Second, for the press coverage Karzai’s comments caused.
Third, the “conciliatory words in response”—all be they left-handed in nature. For if all that establishes moral authority or moral superiority is whether or not you set out to cause the deaths of civilians, this is not a critical difference between good and evil…it is just a sub-set of evil.
In law, actions that are massively foreseeable in terms of potential harm to human life—where the actions are taken notwthstanding—over-arch the specific requirement of intent and ground criminal responsibility.

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By Dale Headley, June 24, 2007 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Karzai doesn’t get it.  He makes the mistake of appealing to Bush’s compassionate side - a side which doesn’t exist.

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By great_satan, June 24, 2007 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

The whole thing goes back to the 80s. there would be no Taliban if not for the CIA. But is that to say “it’s all our fault.” A lot of conspiracy theory is oversimplified, I think.
  The Afghanis welcomed the Muja Hadin. The CIA’s recruiting of Bin Laden was entirely helpful in the Afghanis fighting off the Soviets.
  From that alliance came Taleban and Al Qaeda. The CIA continued to have relations with those two groups. The motives could be obvious, to keep tabs and some kind of leash on the monster they had helped create.
  Certain powers within Intelligence, aka the neo-con conspiracy worked that relationship, while the whole thing spirals beyond hope of actually being controllable. 
  So many allegiances both viable and nefarious had been cultivated with the object of the first offensive, that it was utterly ineffectual. The best the US accomplished was to get most of the Taliban and Al Qaeda to leave.
  I think the problem now is just the problem of trying to fight a ground war in Afghanistan. Good luck. Before we counted on the allegiance of warlords, more deals struck, more potential enemies armed.
  So, the Miltary command is worried over US casualties, both personally and politically. So they attack by just destroying wherever the insurgents are located. They know if they approach closer, they are liable lose a lot more of their own. The insurgents likely know it is best to blend in.
  What a situation, huh. The most classic lose-lose situation from the get go.

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By peedeecee, June 24, 2007 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

I think that pulling troops out of Afghanistan is partly responsible for the high civilian death toll. The US uses air strikes, which are notoriously indiscriminate and result in wholesale death. Troops would at least be trying to shoot at the bad guys rather than civilians.

I recognize that this opinion is simplistic, but there may well be some truth in it.

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By Mudwollow, June 24, 2007 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

What a bunch of crybabies. It is ridiculous to get so upset about a bunch of little children having their bodies ripped apart. People may look at little toddlers mutilated by one of America’s undeclared wars and erroneously think that those little children are just like little children everywhere. This is understandable, but it’s important to keep in mind the real tragedy taking place. Scooter Libby may actually have to go to jail. The horror. The inhumanity. The travesty.

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By TDoff, June 24, 2007 at 2:10 am Link to this comment

‘But unlike the taleban, we do not set out to cause civilian casualties. And that is the critical difference’.

To the dead, that is no difference at all.

The needed difference is that forces fighting ‘against evil’, should follow the doctor’s maxim, that the first criteria should be ‘to do no harm’.

I.e., look before you shoot. Look before you bomb. Try to be smarter than your bombs or ‘intelligence’.
Do not accept certifiable dummies into your armed forces. Do not accept internationally criminal ‘orders’ from your ‘leaders’.

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