Posted on May 8th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton who tells that she is concerned about civilians in Sri Lanka has come under heavy fire from newspapers around the globe for simply saying sorry and doing nothing else after Americans killed of over 100 Afghan civilians including children.


Saudi Arabia’s leading newspaper The Arab News Said in an editorial, “stop killing and start caring about ordinary Afghans. Slaughtering them and then apologizing is contemptible.”


The newspaper reminded Clinton that her contemptible apologies are mere words but shattered bodies of men, women and children by the American drones speak more eloquently. The following is the full editorial:


“It is simply not good enough for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “deeply” regret the slaying this week of over 100 innocent Afghan civilians, including some 20 children, near Farah in western Afghanistan . Nor is it acceptable for American commanders to repeat the mantra that they do everything in their power to minimize euphemistically named “collateral damage” “”‚ i.e. killing ordinary people who have nothing to do with the Taleban.

“These are just words. The shattered bodies of men, women and children speak so much more eloquently. When citizens of Farah protested angrily yesterday, they were yelling for the Americans to quit their country and showering stones at government buildings. Who can blame them? Whether their fury actually will now translate into support for the Taleban cannot be assumed. This is still a country with bitter memories of Taleban rule. But by calling on the US and by extension NATO forces to get out, it is clear that their willingness to cooperate with the foreigners to help check the insurgency has been sharply reduced, if not destroyed.

“Unfortunately, this sort of terrible incident has happened so many times before. US forces by and large seem incapable of fighting high-tech wars in low-tech countries. It happened in Vietnam , then in Somalia and most recently in Iraq . It is happening again now in Afghanistan and along the Pakistan border, where highly sophisticated armed drones have inflicted high civilian casualties though Americans say they are targeting the Taleban and Al-Qaeda insurgents.

“It is simply inadequate to claim the men they are aiming at hide themselves amidst innocent civilians. That is the argument the Israelis used to bludgeon defenseless Palestinians in Gaza to the horror of the rest of the world. The plain fact is that if there is ever a choice between not firing and letting a target escape or firing and killing other people as well as the enemy, that choice has always to be not to fire. Insurgents cannot hide all the time in civilian communities. They must at some point break away to launch their attacks. It is then and only then that the US should be engaging them. The technology is there in the form of satellites that can read auto number plates from far out in space and watching unmanned drones that can circle slowly for hours on end. Even if the insurgents try to disguise themselves, their weapons can be spotted by these flying cameras.

“So if they have the means to target only the enemy, why is it that the Americans continue to make so many deadly errors? With so much advanced equipment, it can only be incompetence or deeply inadequate rules of engagement or worse an uncaring and undisciplined approach by those whose pushing of a button can cause death and maiming to scores of blameless people. If Washington really wants to check the Taleban and facilitate a negotiated peace, it has to stop killing and start caring about ordinary Afghans. Slaughtering them and then apologizing is contemptible.”

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