The US military has long claimed that their assault on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan was little more than an unfortunate mistake. However, the facts surrounding this incident seem to fly in the face of reason. The hospital had repeatedly made its presence known to Afghan and American forces in the lead up to their assault on the City of Kunduz, and they were bombed for over an hour as staff members called US officials, begging them to stop the attack. It’s no surprise that MSF immediately called the strike a “war crime” and demanded an international investigation.
It’s also not surprising that the US government has done nothing to facilitate that investigation. Instead they conducted their own in-house investigation, which as we all know, would be completely impartial and without any conflict of interest. Here’s what that investigation has yielded so far.
(CNN) A U.S. airstrike that mistakenly killed 30 people at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last month was, in part, the result of military personnel inadvertently aiming at the wrong target — the hospital compound — instead of a suspected nearby site, from which Taliban fighters were firing, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday.
The military personnel most closely associated with the strike have been suspended from their duties, pending the full adjudication process, according to Gen. John Campbell, the top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
The October 3 mission had several technical and human errors, several administration officials acknowledge. A U.S. military fact-finding investigation into the incident detailed the mistakes and revealed that the U.S. aircraft targeted the wrong facility.
“The proximate cause of this tragedy was the direct result of avoidable human error, compounded by process and equipment failures,” Campbell told reporters in Kabul Wednesday.
That isn’t really news to anybody. The military has always claimed that the bombing was an accident. What is interesting is their excuse for this “accident.” The report found that the crew of the AC-130 gunship didn’t know about the location of the hospital. They provided the coordinates of what they thought was an insurgent hideout to Bagram Airfield, who did know about the location of the hospital. However, Bagram “did not realize the grid coordinates for the target matched a location on the no-strike list or that the aircrew was preparing to fire on a hospital.”
You might recognize that as a nonsensical explanation. Read it again. They knew that the location was a MSF hospital, but they also didn’t know? How they put that down in their report with a straight face is beyond me.
They also claim that the aircraft had a malfunctioning communication system, which I suppose explained why the hospital’s pleas for mercy went unheeded. That brings me to another absurdity from this report. Their timeline of events does not jibe with what MSF has claimed. The military says that the hospital was under attack for 10 minutes before MSF called for help, and that it took another 17 minutes for US military personnel to realize they were hitting the hospital, at which point the attack had already concluded. However, MSF has repeatedly said that the attack lasted at least an hour, and that it continued for more than 30 minutes after they first called US and Afghan officials, and begged them to stop the bombing.
That’s why MSF isn’t backing down. This report is utter crap. They still want a real investigation of the events that transpired on October 3rd.
Doctors Without Borders, known also by its French name, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), retained its call for an independent investigation that did not include the United States or any other involved party.
“The U.S. version of events presented today leaves MSF with more questions than answers,” Christopher Stokes, the organization’s general director, said in a written statement. “It is shocking that an attack can be carried out when U.S. forces have neither eyes on a target nor access to a no-strike list, and have malfunctioning communications systems.”
He continued, “It appears that 30 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people are denied life-saving care in Kunduz simply because the MSF hospital was the closest large building to an open field and ‘roughly matched’ a description of an intended target.”
Aside from the inconsistencies in this report, it’s what it leaves out that is most telling. In the weeks following the attack, it was revealed that the crew of the AC-130 actually knew what it was targeting, and questioned the legality of bombing it. There were also US forces on the ground studying the hospital before battle began, who believed that it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban forces.
The US military can conduct all the investigations it wants and boil them down into neat and tidy reports for the mainstream media to disseminate to the masses. It won’t change the fact that they knew about the hospital, they knew what they were doing when they ordered the attack, and they deserve to be tried as war criminals for what they did.
Image Credit: TheFreeThoughtProject.com
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.