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Ear to the Ground

The Human Costs of War

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Posted on Sep 12, 2009
Afghan Man
guardian.co.uk / Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

Fazel Muhamad holds pictures of family members killed in the NATO attack.

Last Friday, a NATO airstrike on two hijacked fuel trucks killed at least 90 people in Afghanistan. The Guardian, determined not to let the story pass into the ether of forgotten wartime reporting, managed to interview the families of some of the strike’s victims in a moving exposé of the incredible pain of war.

The Guardian:

At first light last Friday, in the Chardarah district of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, the villagers gathered around the twisted wreckage of two fuel tankers that had been hit by a Nato airstrike. They picked their way through a heap of almost a hundred charred bodies and mangled limbs which were mixed with ash, mud and the melted plastic of jerry cans, looking for their brothers, sons and cousins. They called out their names but received no answers. By this time, everyone was dead.

What followed is one of the more macabre scenes of this or any war. The grief-stricken relatives began to argue and fight over the remains of the men and boys who a few hours earlier had greedily sought the tanker’s fuel. Poor people in one of the world’s poorest countries, they had been trying to hoard as much as they could for the coming winter.

“We didn’t recognise any of the dead when we arrived,” said Omar Khan, the turbaned village chief of Eissa Khail. “It was like a chemical bomb had gone off, everything was burned. The bodies were like this,” he brought his two hands together, his fingers curling like claws. “There were like burned tree logs, like charcoal.”

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By van Bel, September 14, 2009 at 5:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article from the Guardian, broke my heart.

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By stcfarms, September 13, 2009 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

“We” might be ready, but will the people be ready?

Good planning to us all.


By ChaoticGood, September 14 at 1:14 am #

It is a sad state that we find ourselves, as America begins to look more and
more like a staged World Wrestling Federation “steel cage” match.  Looking on
the bright side however, at least when “Mad Max” becomes reality, we will be
ready…

Good luck to us all.

Report this

By ChaoticGood, September 13, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

To liecatcher,

I apologise for the somewhat uneven use of “you” and “we” in my post.  When you correctly replace those pronouns with “crass corporatist multinational pirates that run America”, then you will have improved my post. 

Pardon me, I digress…When Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein”, she was presciently describing the modern Corporation.  And like the monster of the novel, the Corporation is a soulless monster that needs to be restrained by the strongest chains. As long as the monster(s) run loose we all suffer.

The long suffering Afgan people are just the latest “grist” for the corporate mill.  The “monster” wants war profits above all and will not allow reason to delay that awful purpose.  The Taliban’s anger only increases the rate of profit and the interests of the media who make profit from the endless “shock and awe” that increase ratings.

It is a sad state that we find ourselves, as America begins to look more and more like a staged World Wrestling Federation “steel cage” match.  Looking on the bright side however, at least when “Mad Max” becomes reality, we will be ready…

Good Luck to us all.

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By liecatcher, September 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

TO:  ChaoticGood, September 12 at 11:34 pm

Hey ChaoticGood:

In response to: THE HUMAN COSTS OF WAR, you wrote:


” This is “how” NOT to win the hearts and minds of
an occupied people. “

That is crystal clear & accurate.

Then you say:

” At this rate, “WE”: will have more taliban than “WE” can
ever kill,

but maybe that is the point.”

Please tell me who the “WE” are. I believe we the
people, MAIN STREET,

want us out of Afghanistan.

And when you say:
” What I mean to say is that if “YOU” want to win in
Afganistan,...”

Please tell me who the “YOU” is.

And finally, when you say:
” So maybe what “WE” really want is endless war so our
war machine and our

praetorians and rent-a-warriors will have something
to do.
 
If that is secretly what “WE” want, then “WE” are
succeeding.”

If that “WE” refers to the fascist banksters & MILITARY
INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX,

then I say you nailed it, because in the current
FASCIST OLIGARCHY, that Bush 3 is serving,we the

people, MAIN STREET, are the slaves paying for these
endless wars with our

labor & our lives. Those are the ultimate HUMAN COSTS OF
WAR.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 13, 2009 at 12:17 am Link to this comment

It is a sad testament to the human condition that things like this happen.  So many movements are nothing more than power grabs of some type but they wrap themselves in powerful rhetoric and convince others to join and become fodder for their revolution.  The Taliban is really one of these as is much of our own “War on Terror”.

On this particular incident, one has to wonder if the Taliban decided to be “good guys” and give away the fuel to locals or if they cynically enticed them to those appealing targets in hopes NATO would attack and they could get some political mileage from it.  They are certainly capable of the latter but also have been know to do the former.  It is such a complex dance being played out and the people, as always, are the expendable pawns in the middle.

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By ChaoticGood, September 12, 2009 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

This is “how” NOT to win the hearts and minds of an occupied people.  At this rate, we will have more taliban than we can ever kill, but maybe that is the point.

What I mean to say is that if you want to win in Afganistan, you must build a new country and convince Afgans that their future is best served by adopting western ways, democracy and free markets. If you want to lose, then you indiscriminately bomb innocents in order to kill a few taliban who have infiltrated the group.

What we seem to be doing is aggravating the Afgans and empowering radicals and the next generation of Taliban fighters.

So maybe what we really want is endless war so our war machine and our praetorians and rent-a-warriors will have something to do.  If that is secretly what we want, then we are succeeding.

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By stcfarms, September 12, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

In ten years some of these villagers may come here for revenge, will they be
wrong if they do?

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