Days before USA is set to exit the country under Joe Biden, a US drone strike on Sunday in Kabul, Afghanistan killed as many six children among 10 civilians in what they called a ‘defensive airstrike’ against “multiple suicide bombers” associated with the Islamic State of Khorasan Province. Initially, US CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban had claimed that they were “assessing” the possibility that civilians were killed which was only confirmed a few hours later.
It was not the first time that Afghan children had been killed in US drone strikes and the tradition certainly did not begin under Joe Biden. George Bush, during the end days of his presidency, managed to bomb an Afghan wedding at the Wech Bachtu village of Shah Kot Wali district in Kandahar. Of the 40 reported dead at the wedding bombing on the 3rd of November, 2008, 23 were children and 10 were women. The bride was among the scores wounded.
From George Bush to Joe Biden: The atrocities under US Presidents
Hamid Karzai, the then President of Afghanistan, requested incoming president Barack Obama to stop the killing of civilians or consequences would be severe. He said, “Civilian casualties should completely stop. The war in the villages of Afghanistan will never give fruit.”
Naturally, the Nobel Peace Prize winner only did what was appropriate: Apologise after killing Afghan children during his own presidency. Two years after Barack Obama ascended to the White House, a US airstrike in Kunar province in the year 2011 killed nine children. In the previous two weeks, there had been four such instances where 80 civilians had died. Obama called President Karzai and expressed “deep regret” over the same.
Two years later, twelve civilians were killed in Kunar again during a NATO airstrike. Of the twelve, eleven were children and the other a woman.
After all was said and done, the US air force attacked a hospital in Afghanistan in 2015, again demonstrating that Obama was just Bush with better PR. It could be a subject of great philosophical debate, what is worse, bombing a wedding or a hospital. The hospital was managed by the group ‘Doctors Without Borders’. At least 42 were killed and 30 injured. Obama, ever the gentleman, personally apologised to the head of the group.
Donald Trump, too, participated in what has become a traditional sport for American Presidents. In only 10 airstrikes between 2018 and 2019, 115 civilians were killed in the war-torn country. Of that, 70 were children. That is more than a 60% child kill rate. It does appear that Trump was trying his best to get accepted by the Washington DC establishment but no matter how hard he tried, it was never going to be enough.
Maybe if he had started that war with Iran, he would have finally received the approval of the Washington elite. Joe Biden, it seems, did not wish to let down the proud tradition established by his predecessors and thus, two days before leaving the country, he managed to smash six on his record.
The Love for American Imperialism
These are only a few instances mentioned in the article but surely, both, George Bush and Barack Obama had managed to rake up their numbers much beyond what has been mentioned here during their presidential tenures. And yet, for all their supposed concern for human rights around the world, the American mainstream media and the NGO-academia establishment has remained surreptitiously silent over the catastrophe.
The American media and ‘human rights’ groups pompously lectures other countries on matters of human rights violations and yet, when it comes to the United States of America, they either turn a blind eye or issue an obligatory condemnation which they forget within a week. Another intriguing aspect is that when such crimes against humanity are committed by US forces, they always blame it on individual follies rather than the existing political structure but when it comes to other countries, it is always the other way around.
But how could American war crimes be blamed on individual follies when the same horrors have been perpetrated by four successive US Presidents over the course of 20 years in Afghanistan? And the presidents are equally divided between both parties, two each from the Republican Party and Democrats. It is as the joke goes, one bombs with ‘Make America Great Again’ posters planted on its war planes, the other with BLM and LGBT flags.
Their love for American imperialism is touching indeed. The media plays a great role in whitewashing the American crimes against humanity as well. As Glenn Greenwald observed in 2015 in the aftermath of the Afghan hospital bombing, the CNN and the New York Times for 36 hours attempted to obscure who was responsible for the atrocity.
The journalist, hated by the western mainstream media establishment, wrote, “The U.S. and its allies — in both the Afghan government and its own media — have now switched course from the “it was a collateral damage mistake” cliché to the proud “yes we did it and it was justified” boast. But from the start, not even the U.S. military had the audacity to try to obscure that they did this. They left that dirty work to their leading media outlets, which, as usual, are more than eager and happy to comply.”
Human Rights as an instrument of Geopolitics
The American media-NGO industry love to point fingers at others for acting in self defense while giving their own US Presidents guilty of war crimes a free pass. One only needs to take a cursory glance at the manner in which it treats India, which has been fighting Pakistan sponsored radical Islamic terrorism in Kashmir for decades now.
When Indian forces respond to stone pelters with rubber bullets, the American media rushes to the defense of Islamic extremists and pretends that an apocalypse has descended on Earth. When India abrogated Article 370 to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the Valley, it was dubbed a violation of human rights.
When India did something so noble as passing an Act to expedite the citizenship process of persecuted minorities in neighbouring countries, the American media-NGO industry labeled it religious discrimination. When Indian law enforcement authorities cracked down on rioters, it was again branded an instance of police brutality.
But take a glance at the manner in which the western media is treating Joe Biden after the killing of six Afghan children. There is hardly any outrage over it. They even gave Donald Trump, a US president whose election they branded the second coming of Adolf Hitler, a free pass over the murder of civilians in Afghanistan. It is an absolute scandal.
The message is clear. The US establishment believes that Afghan lives do not matter and American imperialism is so pious that it has divine sanction to murder children. If Americans wish to comprehend why they could not win over Afghan hearts and minds in 20 years, then the events of Thursday are a good place to ponder over.