Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Real Fireworks or Just Bombs Again?

As Interdependence Day approaches, the United States humbly admitted error in bombing a wedding party in Afghanistan, killing around 40 people and injuring more than 60. Bombs and rockets in our country symbolize a celebration of freedom, but in other parts of the world, these explosions are all too real, bringing carnage, death and grueling efforts to survive destruction of homes and livelihood.

This error, undoubtedly labeled ‘collateral damage’, stands next to a smattering of misguided bombs which have inadvertently and regrettably killed hundreds of civilians in numerous countries over the past few years. As reported by the BBC, during the current Bush administration’s war on terror in Afghanistan, U.S. planes accidentally killed four Canadians in April, bombed the town of Hazar Qadam in January, fired at a caravan of tribal elders en route to the inauguration ceremony for Hamid Karzai and last October hit a residential area in Kabul rather than the intended helicopter at the airport. Oops.

For the pilots and American citizens, these mistakes are akin to losses while playing a video game. From afar, with targets merely illuminated points on a screen, the people who die are unreal, just numbers and statistics. When we kill by remote control, our hands are theoretically clean. The computer won’t show blood and won’t cry; it’s a machine, an abstraction.

The people affected by our ubiquitous blunders, however, are terribly real, as is their pain. In February of 199, during the Gulf War, U.S. planes bombed a women’s and children’s shelter in Baghdad called al-Amiriya. Hundreds of civilians died as a result of the two bombs hitting this supposed-safe haven. The U.S. apologized after realizing what happened, but still continues to bomb the country, even in the past week.

The rhetoric about a “new war” with Iraq is a farce. We are already at war informally with them. Friday June 28th we dropped bombs in the South of Iraq. Wednesday the 26th of June as well. On Thursday the 20th of June four people in Iraq were killed when U.S. planes bombed them. Eighteen people were wounded when bombs fell on Iraq on the 25th of May. And another four were killed when we bombed Iraq on February 6th. I’d imagine that Iraqis feel attacked and besieged as bombs continue to fall in an undeclared, ongoing, indefinite war that inevitably targets civilians.

When I tell people this, they invariably say, “Where’d you hear this? Why didn’t I know about it?” It’s in the news, alright, but it’s just hard to find. These statistics get buried in the middle of stories about deposing Saddam Hussein and vilifying his evil acts.

“But Saddam kills his own people!” He did this in the 1980’s as well when he was our friend. We just turned a blind eye then. Besides, we kill our own people, executing hundreds of people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. The crime of a state murdering its own civilians looks different when it’s on our own soil.

Incidentally, these bombs that rain down on Iraq are illegal under international law. They were not approved by Congress nor by the United Nations. The United States justifies dropping bombs as we unlawfully patrol Iraqi borders enforcing the bogus “no fly zones.” Iraqis have become sadly accustomed to the noisy air raid sirens.

You cannot achieve peace through war. The United States cannot continue to be proud guardians of weapons of mass destruction and deify their usage, apologize for their errors and claim that we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. Do these mistakes which take innocent lives make us safer or prove our strength or our liberty? Is it righteous or noble to kill unarmed guests at a wedding? Moreover, to what end are we still bombing Afghanistan – has it brought us closer to capturing Osama bin Laden? Has enough justice not been rendered on the citizens of Afghanistan to make up for the loss of lives on September 11th?

We are not alone on this small planet, a fact that ought to be in the hearts and minds of all Americans as the nationally celebrated holiday approaches. We drive automobiles made in Japan, drink coffee from South America, wear clothes made in Southeast Asia, buy oil from the Middle East and Africa and import furniture from Sweden. Even our fireworks are made in China!

On July 4th, millions of American children will be lighting sparklers and tracing their names in the night sky. They should also trace the names of any of the thousands of displaced Afghani children, due to the bombings, who are still refugees on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They should trace the names of the Iraqi children who are their same-age counterparts, held captive under the sanctions and threatened almost daily by U.S. bombs. On Interdependence Day, each and every one of us is affected by an errant bomb.

Leah C. Wells serves as Peace Education Coordinator for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. She may be contacted at education@napf.org.

Today’s Feature

Dave Marsh
John Entwistle’s Heaven and Hell

Norman Madarasz
Brazil’s Triumph

home / subscribe / about us / books / archives / search / links /

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail