Yes, I am still continuing to diary on this subject, it is more than just about one incident over the last 14 years of war in Afghanistan and the Middle East. The US participation in warfare has become all too easy, when was the last time congress was involved before expansion of conflict zones and extension of mission? We seem to be very good at starting wars but very bad at ending them.
Now that Obama has made it official that there is no end in sight for US participation in the [civil]war in Afghanistan we get this report:
Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, said they were informed after the "intrusion" that it was by a delegation from a joint U.S.-NATO-Afghan team investigating the Oct. 3 bombing of the hospital.
The incident violated an agreement with investigators that MSF "would be given notice before each step of the procedure involving the organization's personnel and assets."
"Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear," it said in a statement, adding that an MSF team had arrived at the hospital earlier in the day.
Michael Newton, a West Point graduate and an expert on conduct of hostilities issues at Vanderbilt Law School, listed questions a Defense Department investigation would seek to answer.
“There’s somebody in some part of the force that knows that’s a prohibited target,” Newton said. “The question then is, what are the fire control measures over that place?
“If they were followed, were they adequate? If they weren’t followed, why weren’t they followed? And underneath that, there’s two things. Either, one – they were misapplied. Or, two, there was an exception.”
We also have had a new addition to the story was that it was being used as some sort Taliban command and control center. Originally it was just a fire fight in and around the hospital compound.
Under the Geneva conventions even if the hospital is being used as shelter by armed groups [MSF deny this vehemently] adequate warning of any attack must be given
Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of international law at the University of Notre Dame, said that according to international humanitarian law, the critical question for determining if US forces committed a war crime was whether they had notified the hospital ahead of the strike if they understood the Taliban to be firing from the hospital.
“Any serious violation of the law of armed conflict, such as attacking a hospital that is immune from intentional attack, is a war crime. Hospitals are immune from attack during an armed conflict unless being used by one party to harm the other and then only after a warning that it will be attacked,” O’Connell said
What we know
A US Aircraft attacked a hospital. this has been admitted
Twelve MSF staff and 10 patients, including three children, were killed.
Two MSF staff remain missing and are presumed dead.
The attack continued for some time [an hour or more]
It seems that at no time was the hospital warned of an imminent attack.
MSF also report that they communicated with US and Afghan officials during the attack.
This whole event concerns our attitudes to aggression and the crimes that have been committed during our wars that have been pardoned by ourselves all too easily. This is about those that have been driven from their homes, died and been injured during this militaristic period, both of our own and the countries we have attacked.
This is about the collateral damage caused which we have termed to be an excuse for the carnage caused.
If these wars were purely about human rights and women's rights as many now want to frame our occupations and regime change, then we would be involved in never ending war around the globe. Think back to how many violent and brutal dictators we have propped up since WWII.
The reason we occupied these countries in the first place, the reason we bomb them had nothing to do whatsoever about the plight of the people in them. Now we just say "War on Terror" and it is good to go. Then we desperately try and deny that our very actions have expanded the chaos and carnage. We try and deny that our actions have numbed us to the horror of war.
There are some even questioning that we could commit a war crime willingly, we have justified them in the past by ignoring them completely under the banners of exceptionalism and looking forward.
This is about far more than one potential war crime it is about our whole attitude to war, regime change and our disregard for the consequences of our actions. It is also about the ease with which we now participate in conflict. It is about our own democratic process.
Note: Bolding in the diary is mine