Tag Archives: military

The Casualties of War

3 Oct

In case you haven’t heard, a US airstrike in Afghanistan has led to the death of several personnel who were part of a doctors without borders facility stationed there. You can read about it here.

I find it tragic that those humans that were doing their best to undo the damage that war causes were, themselves, casualties to the same war. I also find it tragic that these lives seem to matter more than the other civilian lives lost.

The article I’m referencing is from the Times, and while they make mention of other Afghanistani civilian lives lost, it is written to bear less weight than the people in this hospital. Apparently there is outrage at our decisions to make an airstrike in this location, and maybe there was some miscommunication, or misinformation surrounding and leading to it, but this article (and the outraged people) seem to lack understanding of how airstrikes work.

Forgive me, and correct me, if I’m wrong (I’m not a military expert), but the nature of an airstrike alone lends itself to killing unwanted targets. We can type in coordinates, and launch whatever ammo we are using in a particular situation, but we can’t say there are 30 people in a building and we only want to bomb 5 of them. It doesn’t work that way.

Any war, at any time has caused civilian casualties. We seem to feel okay if its “the enemies” civilian casualties versus our own, but we shouldn’t. And we shouldn’t feel okay about either, no matter who it is causing them.

My hope is that maybe this situation will help more people realize that civilian casualties aren’t uncommon, and there are more reasons than just a fallen soldier and money to fight less. I also hope that they do look into what happened that lost these doctors their lives, wounding so many others in this hospital, and they find that the original threat was an actual threat. No one will be happy with that, of course, but at least if this is founded, these people didn’t die for no reason.

Finally, I would like to note that this article was so right when they described the capability to perform airstrikes as “devastating”.

Advertisements