Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sorry, it's been a while

Partly just that the zeitgeist is too depressing to even comment on. First, I'll cross-post this from Today in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military has released its explanation for the assault on the MSF hospital in Kunduz. Of course it was all just a big mistake. To summarize:

  • Afghan forces requested an airstrike, saying they were under fire. However, they did not provide map coordinates of the building they wanted to be attacked, they just "described its location."
  • U.S. special forces passed on the description to the crew of the AC-130.
  • The plane had been diverted from another mission and its crew was not familiar with Kunduz, and had not been briefed on the location of the hospital.
  • The location description was apparently vague or inaccurate (it referred to an open field), so the crew decided to attack the hospital building.
  • U.S. ground forces were not within visual range of the attack.
  • An on-board targeting computer that might have stored the coordinate of the hospital as off-limits wasn't working.
  • No explanation as to why the AC-130 attacked even though there was no evidence of a firefight. (They would have seen it with infrared surveillance if it was happening.)
  • No explanation of why the crew did not confirm the identity of the target when the information they had turned out to be incorrect.
  • No explanation of why the attack continued for an hour despite frantic calls by hospital personnel to U.S., Afghan, United Nations and Red Cross officials. 
Gen. Campbell says some individuals have been "suspended" from their duties.  I have no further comment on this right now. Oh shoot, I will. If this is true (and that's a far reach) it shows utterly depraved indifference to the people the U.S. is supposedly trying to protect. You don't spend an hour blowing up a building and massacring the people who flee from it without actually knowing what it is you are attacking, unless you are a maniac.

More on other subjects soon.


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