When the Targeting Evidence Fails–“Continue to Believe”

U.N. Finds Airstrike Killed 90 Afghans
Most of Fatalities In U.S.-Led Attack Said to Be Children

By Candace Rondeaux and Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, August 27, 2008; A01
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 26 — United Nations officials in Afghanistan said Tuesday that there was “convincing evidence” at least 90 civilians — two-thirds of them children — were killed in a U.S.-led airstrike last week that caused the Afghan government to call for a review of U.S. and NATO military operations in the country.
Kai Eide, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, said local officials and residents in the western province of Herat corroborated reports that 60 children and 30 adults had been killed in an Aug. 21 military operation led by U.S. Special Operations forces and the Afghan army.
. . . U.S. forces in Afghanistan have increased their reliance on air power since last year, causing a corresponding increase in civilian deaths.
The Herat assault appears to have caused the largest civilian loss of life attributed to U.S. forces since the war began in late 2001.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said military commanders in Afghanistan continued to believe that the attack in Herat “was a legitimate strike on a Taliban target.”
Sixty children dead. War is indeed hell, but war by remote control air strike is not even remotely acceptable. This story comes after a similar attack killed 25 wedding attendees, including the bride.
Yet American commanders ‘continue to believe‘ in the viability of the targets. Who selects these targets in a country where no Americans speak the language and operations are carried out through interpreters? Who vouches for targeting and who vouches for those who vouch?
Is it possible we are being tipped by those who do not have our best interests at heart? Is it just possible that, in a country where we hardly know friend from foe, an occasional foe is giving us false targeting to besmirch an already shaky image?
We are liberating Iraq and Afghanistan and will continue to liberate until no one is left and the name American joins Attilla the Hun in infamy.

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