Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Feb 23

Yesterday, the head of NATO military operations in Afghanistan Stanley McCrystal issued an official apology to Afghan president Hamid Karzai. It was in response to a recent US-Marine led offensive. While much of the Taliban-held province is being liberated, dozens of non-combat civilians have been killed. Most died on Feb. 22, when an aerial assault went horribly wrong and missed its target by miles, landing in Marjah, a populated section of Helmand province.

Prior to the incident, Karzai had agreed to let NATO forces operate in the Marjah region, only after assurances from McCrystal that no civilians would be involved. So it was particularly embarrassing for our commander to issue the statement. While an investigation is being conducted to determine what when wrong at Marjah, the dark side of US troops operating overseas was unmasked. Too often, our technologically advanced weaponry makes tragic mistakes and innocent people are killed.

Unfortunately, civilians are often unwilling victims in civil conflicts around the world. The three-headed monster of Hamas, Fatah and the Israeli army seem to unintentionally kill someone every week. That’s what happens when wars are fought in cities instead of battlefields—everyday people become involved. What’s interesting is how are media refers to such people. Sometimes, they’re civilians. Other times, they’re townspeople or…the worst yet…villagers. But rarely ever are they called citizens.

It’s true…your nation’s status determines one’s status as an individual. All American and Western Europeans are prized citizens. Accidental deaths of these people are front-page news, complete with detailed obituaries and biographies. However, if you’re born in a lesser-known nation and you happen to be killed, the media will mention you only in passing. We declare that ‘All men are created equal.’
Just so long as you’re not an Afghani.

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