Mar 3, 2011

NATO Kills 9 Afghan Children

Here's the worst story of the past 24 hours (beating out lots of competition for that title): NATO forces in Afghanistan "accidentally" killed 9 Afghan boys who were gathering firewood. Apparently the NATO troops who shot them from a helicopter mistook them for grown men who had earlier attacked a NATO operating base. I put "accidentally" in quotes not because I think it was purposeful, but because I just think it's appalling to excuse the murder of 9 children as an accident.

The story is doubly horrifying precisely because it's getting so little press in the U.S. It was buried on the fourth page of the New York Times and I didn't hear anything about it on NPR this morning. The hourly news headlines did, though, lead with a story about two U.S. soldiers killed in Germany, supposedly by an Islamic militant, although as usual the story didn't offer any evidence for that assumption.

It saddens me that we've gotten so complacent about our country's involvement in two unnecessary wars, and so certain that there's no way to end those wars and get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, that we've basically just started to ignore the atrocities that are going on there in our names. Killings of civilians were among the most important motivators for the antiwar movement during the Vietnam era, but today those killings happen so frequently and with so little news coverage that they barely raise a ripple. If we wonder why "Islamic extremists" are attacking U.S. soldiers in Germany, we might want to start by looking at U.S. soldiers killing children in Afghanistan.

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