Saturday, April 30, 2016

Framing Civilian Airstrikes

I was rather flabbergasted by the front page of the USA Today newspaper yesterday:

The front page above features two stories that are united by the headline: "Airstrike kills almost 30 in Syria." (April 29, 2016 print edition)

The story on the left reads: "Pentagon Punishes 16 for War Blunder" by Jim Michaels:
"The Pentagon disciplined about 16 military personnel, including a general officer, for their role in last year's mistaken airstrike on a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 people, a senior Defense official said Thursday."

The story on the right reads: "Fighting Raises Ugly Array of Scenarios" by Oren Dorell:
"Fighting escalated Thursday in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where an airstrike killed at least 27 people at a hospital supported by aid group Doctors without Borders, according to a British-based monitoring group... It wasn't immediately clear who was responsible... White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the air-strike 'fits the Assad regime's abhorrent pattern of striking first responders.'"

Majia here: There is an obvious contradiction here. The article on the right blames the Assad government for the most recent assault against the Doctors without Borders hospital and blames the Assad regime's "abhorrent pattern of striking first responders."

However, this assertion is flatly contradicted by the article on the left that describes sanctioning of US military personnel for assaulting a Doctors without Borders hospital last year.

It is the US that, unfortunately, has the proven record of assaulting Doctors without Borders hospitals.

At the time of the first assault in 2015, Doctors without Borders claimed that they repeatedly called NATO officials in Kabul begging that the assaults be halted, which they were not:

"Doctors Accuse White House Of Lying To Justify 'Collateral Damage' In Kabul Hospital Bombing," Zero Hedge, October 4, 2015: Available:
Medical charity MSF demands independent probe into strike on Afghan hospital. Reuters. 

The truth of these incidents may never be known but efforts to SPIN THE STORY of assaults by blaming the Assad government fall flat when confronted with historical facts, a fundamental contradiction that ruptures the White House narrative.

Glenn Greenwald recently posted an article critiquing the outcome of the US investigation of the 2015 strike that is worth considering:  
The Joke of U.S. Justice and “Accountability” When They Bomb a Hospital Apr. 29 2016, The Intercept

Ever since the U.S. last October bombed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the U.S. vehemently denied guilt while acting exactly like a guilty party would. First, it changed its story repeatedly. Then, it blocked every effort – including repeated demands from MSF – to have an independent investigation determine what really happened.... What is beyond dispute, as Jeong wrote, is that the “211 shells that were fired . . . were felt by the 42 men, women, and children who were killed.” MSF insisted the bombing was “deliberate,” and ample evidence supports that charge. Despite all this, the U.S. military is about to release a report that, so predictably, exonerates itself from all guilt; it was, of course, all just a terribly tragic mistake.