"The Washington Post reports on yet another glorious page in the annals of the exceptional nation 'intended by God to be a light set on a hill to serve as a beacon of hope and Christian charity to a lost and dying world,'" Chris Floyd wrote Tuesday.[1]  --  "It's the usual story."  --  The Post piece is also posted below.[2] ...



By Chris Floyd

Empire Burlesque
May 18, 2010


The American way of war is a marvelously ingenious thing.  And thoroughly modern too.  No more of that "don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes" jazz; your modern "warfighter" (they aren't called "soldiers" anymore, you know)  prefers to view his targets through, say, a computer screen safely ensconced back in the Homeland or thousands of feet in the sky, or else through the unearthly greenish glow of night-vision scopes.  And open combat?  Forget it.  The new American way is the sneak attack on civilian homes in the dead of night.  You creep up, you break in, you cap a few ragheads, then you run away.  What glory!  What magnificent valor!

The Washington Post reports on yet another glorious page in the annals of the exceptional nation "intended by God to be a light set on a hill to serve as a beacon of hope and Christian charity to a lost and dying world."  It's the usual story.  Secret "warfighters" suddenly attack a civilian compound in the middle of the night.  This, not surprisingly, provokes a few shots from some of the inhabitants, who have no idea who is attacking their home.  The superior firepower of the beacons of hope and Christian charity quickly overcome the piddling arms of the demonic heathens, however, and in a trice, there are dead gook -- sorry, raghead -- bodies all around.  Including children -- you've got to have children in your body count these days, if you want to be a thoroughly modern Christian beacon warfighter.  Then you and your brave band of secret warriors run away and prepare for the next bold raid.

Naturally, the local losers come out and boo-hoo-hoo over their dead relatives, as if no one had ever seen their son shot to death in front of their eyes before.  They trot out all their evidence that the victims had nothing to do with the "insurgents" (which is what your modern warfighter calls anyone who objects to the presence of armed foreigners prowling all over their land), they keen and wail and do all the other animalistic stuff that primitives do when one of the pack snuffs it.  "Oh, I lost my son, oh my son, my precious son," etc., etc. -- as if there's not a dozen more when he came from; you know how those people breed.

But anyway, here's the beauty part:  if the local dorky darkies start to complain, you just say, "Hey man, we came under fire!  Those monkeys shot at us when we came sneaking up on their house in the middle of the night with our guns drawn.  That proves they were bad guys.  We had to take them out."

That's it.  That's the drill.  It happens virtually every week now in Afghanistan -- just as it happened time and again in Iraq, back when some guy named Stanley McChrystal was in charge of covert ops for that evil, reactionary throwback, George W. Bush.  Whatever happened to old Stan anyway?  Oh yeah; the nice, progressive, thoroughly modern Barack Obama put him in charge of the whole shooting match in Afghanistan, as well as the not-so-secret war of assassination in Pakistan.  And oddly enough, the slaughter of civilians in both of these target countries has been rising ever since.

But hey, that's just how we roll nowadays.  That's the American way of war.  Creep, sneak, kill, run, lie -- repeat.  Sure, it only makes things worse, creates more enemies, keeps the wars going.  But isn't that the point?  Check it out, baby:  they're piling an extra $33.5 billion of prime war pork on top of the mountain of Terror War funding already laid out for this year!  And you need a whole lot of blood to wash down that meat -- and a whole lot of new enemies to make sure the feast never ends. 



By Joshua Partlow

Washington Post

May 18, 2010
Page A10


SURKHROD, AFGHANISTAN -- District police chief Abdul Ghafour woke to a cellphone call after 1:00 a.m. Friday:  There was gunfire at Rafiuddin Kushkaki's home.  Ghafour put on his uniform, sent two police trucks ahead, and followed in a third.

"I thought that the Taliban must have attacked this man's house," he said.

He was wrong.  It was a raid by U.S. Special Operations forces and their Afghan colleagues, and it left at least nine Afghan men dead in the Surkhrod district of Nangahar province in eastern Afghanistan.  NATO describes it as a successful mission that took out ruthless Taliban insurgents.  Relatives at the house said it was a slaughter of civilians.

Whatever the real answer, the raid demonstrated to Afghan officials a lack of coordination by U.S. forces with local authorities, who said they were left in the dark about both the target and the timing of the operation.  Afghan police said they were prevented from getting within 200 yards of the house until hours after the raid began and were even shot at when they tried to move closer.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has sought to minimize the use of night raids, acknowledging that they can often inflame public sentiment against American efforts.  The unclassified version of his guidance to U.S. and allied forces says that night raids remain a valuable tactic in certain circumstances but that Afghan officials and tribal elders should be given notice.

In Afghan culture, McChrystal wrote in his directive, "a man's home is more than just his residence."

"It represents his family, and protecting it is closely intertwined with his honor.  He has been conditioned to respond aggressively in defense of his home and his guests whenever he perceives his home or honor is threatened," the general wrote.  "In a similar situation, most of us would do the same."

The operation Friday prompted a violent protest and denunciations from tribal elders.  It also raised questions among Afghans about the counterinsurgency value of such lethal operations.

"I'm the responsible person here -- I have to know what's going on," said Ghafour, the police chief.  "In all our intelligence reports, in everything, we don't have a single piece of information about these people.  Do the coalition forces have it?"

U.S. military officials said the joint American and Afghan force came under fire and responded by killing a Taliban sub-commander and other insurgents.  Residents at the house said that the target may have been sub-commander Qari Shamsuddin but that troops killed the wrong man.  A police photo taken at the scene shows a bearded man, identified as Shamsuddin, wearing a light-blue T-shirt, slumped in the dirt with a bullet hole in his head.

U.S. military officials said soldiers found five automatic rifles, including Kalashnikovs, as well as shotguns, pistols, radios, a U.S. Marine uniform, and an array of ammunition.  "The guy we got, based on a number of intelligence indicators, is the guy that we needed," said Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a U.S. military spokesman at NATO headquarters in Kabul.  "He was responsible for the killing of coalition troops, and he won't be anymore."

Breasseale said the soldiers followed McChrystal's procedures for conducting night raids.

The owner of the house, Kushkaki, and several of his relatives told a different story on Monday.

They said the soldiers touched down in two helicopters in a distant field and approached silently on foot.  They placed ladders against the high mud walls surrounding the home and climbed up.  A driver staying in an adjacent guest house spotted the intruders and fired, Kushkaki said, setting off a hail of gunfire.

Kushkaki awoke to the noise and crept from his room.  Directly overhead, he said, men stood on his roof shooting down into the mud-walled rooms and courtyards where more than 50 relatives lived.  He raised a Kalashnikov, he said, and began firing.

"For one hour, we didn't know who they were.  We thought they were thieves," he said.

U.S. military officials said the soldiers repeatedly called out to get the men to emerge from the house peacefully but were ignored.

On Monday, Kushkaki walked around his property showing the bloodstains of his slain relatives and friends.  His son, 16-year-old Habibuddin, and Kushkaki's brother, Hafizuddin, were both shot and killed, he said.  An elderly farmer who lived at the house, Sayid Rahim, and four of his sons were also killed, as were two drivers, he said.  He said all the home's residents were Tajiks with no links to the insurgency, which is composed primarily of Pashtuns.

Kushkaki described himself as a wealthy man and landowner.  He works as a driver for Zahir Qadir, a former Afghan general and the son of a famous tribal leader, Abdul Qadir, who fought the Taliban alongside President Hamid Karzai.

Zahir Qadir convened a gathering of tribal elders Monday in Jalalabad.  He condemned the raid, said the slain men were civilians and demanded that the two detainees taken by U.S. forces be released.

"They always get the wrong information.  This is not acceptable," Qadir said of U.S. troops.  "When they are killing our people, it's not possible to accept them as our friends."

--Special correspondent Javed Hamdard contributed to this report.