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.


  1. Too bad. Wish I had some optimism. The two party presidential candidates are pretty militaristic.

  2. Doctors Without Borders seems to be targeted lately as there was also one of their hospitals in Yemen that got hit by the Saudis. As I recall the Doctors had gotten on the wrong side of Obama by protesting something. Then these accidents, these "tragic mistakes", began. Damage control. Imagine having that job.

  3. Actually Trump is something of a peacenik. Should he become President he would be the first peacenik president since JFK. Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy was also a peacenik. Roosevelt appointed him Ambassador to Great Britain somewhat tongue in check since Kennedy was an Irish Catholic--but Kennedy made friends in England, especially P.M. Chamberlain. Both men were peaceniks. Kennedy thought another world war would be a disaster and created several viable peace plans which Roosevelt ignored with the support of Churchill. Kennedy maintained that it was the Jews that won WWII! Clearly it is Trump's confidence in dealing with Russia and Iran which makes him so loathed by the Establishment. They desperately want more war! Hilary is something of a war monger as proved by Libya; and her stated desire to destroy Iran. Notice how Trump is regarded as an isolationist and probably an appeaser. Unfortunately history seems to see the greatest generation as a generation of suckers. Economists seem to be believe either another war or the dollar will collapse. Take your choice. The bad management path to global suicide.

  4. Howard Kunstler

    Go there to read the whole blog. I do not see how Trump can avoid continued militarism. Wish I could be more optimistic

    "All of which is to say that Hillary represents the forces that want to keep things just as a they are: rackets rampant. What can crush her triumph of fakery is the sudden manifestation of rackets collapsing under their own weight — a set of awful probabilities waiting to happen, ranging from riots at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia to an accident in financial markets jerry-rigged to mis-price everything for the purpose of funneling carry-trade gains into East Hampton. Look how she croaks about the triumph of the Affordable Care Act, as though it’s a great thing that Americans can shell out $10,000 a year for medical coverage that only kicks in after you rack up the first $6,000 in charges. (Forgetting for a moment that the costs are an hallucination of the “ChargeMaster” system designed to lavish six-figure salaries plus bonuses on the maestros in the hospital executive suites.) What a demonic fraud this woman is.

    In terms of sheer persona on persona, Trump is not much better, a walking hood ornament on the faltering beater car that America has become. But at least he recognizes that the beater beneath him needs a complete overhaul, even if he can barely cobble up a coherent list of particulars, or name the mechanics who might be able to fix the damn thing. And, of course, a broad swathe of Americans whose lives have also come to resemble beater cars are very sympathetic to the impulses Trump radiates."

  5. America has seemed like a bad dream for most of my life. After Fukushima, and my complete recocognition of what the atomic age is, it now a nightmare.

  6. The ever clever media has done a very professional job of insinuating all sorts of things about Trump--but he may be more ethical than we can presently know. I am sure he is aware of what happened to Kennedy and why. The media has a way of seeping through the mass mind so one need not even watch TV or listen to the radio to stay "informed" as it moves around like the early morning fog drifting into every corner silently. That is why people claim to "know" what the case it as if by Divine Revelation.

  7. Despair is an appropriate and healthy response to the Western Ethos just as vomiting is a healthy response to having eaten bad food. Live in a rotten society in a "low dishonest time", and it takes extraordinary measures to stay sane. It is pretty obvious that the hospital in Afghanistan was deliberately bombed over a lengthy period of time. Probably the persons in the plane did not know what they were doing, but some one way up there did. This is as low as one can go whoever that person way up there was. Killing doctors and nurses and patients.

  8. "As Americans Argue Over Which Bathroom to Use, 3 Nuclear Disasters are Unfolding Inside the US"

    1. Yes. While I support equal rights for all people, this battle has seemed over-played given the percentage of the population impacted given more momentous issues.


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