In defiance of the savage religious fundamentalism that has beset her Islamic nation, a woman found a way to get an education for herself. Experiencing the power of knowledge firsthand, she didn’t stop with her own enrichment, but dedicated herself to giving others the education she had fought to obtain. She became, against all odds, a schoolteacher in Afghanistan.
Then the men with guns came. In an attack that she was powerless to resist, the men killed her and four others in her village. Their attack was so brutal and so blind that it killed a little seven day-old baby.
No, not the Taliban. The men with guns who killed that Afghan school teacher, the baby, and three other civilians were Americans.
At first, the U.S. military denied that it had done anything wrong. It insisted that the teacher and the baby and their neighbors were “militants”.
“Words alone cannot begin to express our regret and sympathy and we will ensure the surviving family members are properly cared for,” says Brigadier General Michael Ryan. You’re right about that, General Ryan. Words are completely insufficient, and giving the survivors money to live on really doesn’t cut it either.
The question for the U.S. military is this: Large numbers of Afghan civilians are being killed by American soldiers in Afghanistan. So, what are you going to do about it? I know that that’s a difficult question, especially as even more soldiers are going into Afghanistan, but the military needs to give an answer. If the military really has “regret and sympathy”, then it will act to change what it’s doing.
I have one suggestion: Stop lying about civilian deaths, and trying to convince the world that people like schoolteachers and babies are militants. When the world sees a lie like this one, people understandably begin to assume that everything the military says is a lie, and some people will even believe that the Americans aren’t killing anyone but civilians in Afghanistan.
That’s not just a stain on America’s reputation. It’s piss poor military strategy.