And Sadly, This Ghastly Boast Came True
Cofer Black giving press briefing after 9/11 attacks. [Source: 2001-2009.state.gov]
On September 13, 2001, Cofer Black, the head of CIA counter-terrorism, had a conversation with President George W. Bush in which he boasted: “When we are through with them [referring to Afghans and others supporting terrorism], they will have flies walking across their eyeballs.”
Sadly, Black’s boast essentially came to pass starting three weeks later. On October 7, the U.S. commenced bombing Afghanistan and has been at war in the Middle East ever since, occupying and invading numerous countries while escalating its arming of Israel.
An estimated 387,073 civilians died as a result of America’s post 9/11 Middle East wars and another 3.6-3.7 million died indirectly. At least 70,000 Afghan civilians died from the 20-year U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and an estimated 243,000 civilians were killed in the war.
Man mourning one of thousands of Afghan victims of the U.S.-NATO war. [Source: nytimes.com]
Brad Wolf, a former prosecutor from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has helped to coordinate a tribunal with other peace activists, charging top weapons manufacturers (aka “merchants of death”) with war crimes for producing weapons that have been used to kill civilians in illegal wars undertaken in violation of the Geneva Convention and UN Charter.
The model for the tribunal is the Nuremberg trials after World War II which tried and convicted the executives of German war industries, notably I.G. Farben, Krupp and Flick, for war crimes.
The tribunal’s college intern, Norah Tafuri, narrated a short documentary about the Afghan War, which presented a strong case that leading U.S. weapons contractors—notably Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing and General Atomics—were culpable in war crimes.
Tafuri quoted Black at the outset to illustrate the malign intent of U.S. foreign policymakers who wanted to spill Arab blood in an attempt to avenge the 9/11 attacks.
The Afghan War was carried out illegally because the Taliban had offered to put Osama bin Laden—the alleged culprit behind the 9/11 attacks—on trial before 9/11 and had made a proposal for a three-nation court that the Bush administration rejected.
Tafuri pointed out that the U.S. first became involved in Afghanistan in 1949 when an American engineering firm, Morrison-Knudsen, built an irrigation system in the mineral-rich Helmand province. Afghanistan at the time was on the front lines of the Cold War and the U.S. was using the country as a tool to counteract Soviet influence in Central Asia.
After 9/11, the Bush administration authorized American geologists to undertake a survey of Afghanistan which determined that the country had more than $1 trillion in mineral wealth buried beneath the ground. The Khanneshin carbonatite deposit in Helmand alone was valued at $89 billion.
Besides accessing these lucrative resources, the Bush administration coveted the building of an oil pipeline in Afghanistan from the Caspian oil fields to the Indian Ocean.
The pipeline was supposed to be built by UNOCAL, a California company in which Halliburton, the oil servicing company Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of, had interests.
Lynne Cheney [Source: wsj.com]
The naked profiteering underlying the Afghan War and Global War on Terror was further apparent in that Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne, had been a board member of Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed manufactured F-16 fighters jets and AC-130 gunships with Boeing that carried out much of the bombing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. It further made Hellfire missiles and cluster bombs, which are designed to penetrate the flesh and release flechettes inside the body.
Lockheed Hellfire missile being loaded onto a plane for bombing run in Afghanistan.
Longtime peace activist Kathy Kelly was featured in the documentary recounting her visit to an Afghan hospital where she met young boys who had been blinded and crippled by cluster bombs. One of the boys was so despondent because of his injuries that he refused to even go outside and interact with other kids.
Kelly traveled throughout Afghanistan and met many victims who had lost loved ones or had their homes destroyed from the U.S. air campaign over Afghanistan and were left to wonder why they had been targeted and had to suffer such a cruel fate.
Kathy Kelly in Afghanistan. [Source: markinbookreview.blogspot.com]
Undetonated ordinance still litters the country even after the departure of U.S. troops and can easily be triggered.
Along with Lockheed, General Atomics has a lot of blood on its hands as the manufacturer of weaponized drones that were used extensively in Afghanistan.
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone. [Source: pinterest.com]
In an all too typical incident on February 21, 2010, 23 civilians were killed when a missile from a drone struck a convoy of vehicles filled with shopkeepers, students and families on a trip to visit their relatives.
Much of the drone targeting was carried out from military command centers in Tampa, Florida where drone operators were far removed from the scene and could not actually know exactly who they were targeting.
U.S. military footage shows an airstrike targeting suspected militants in Kabul that killed 10 Afghan civilians.
Boeing was another manufacturer of the drones used in Afghanistan along with F-15 and F-18 fighter jets, the AC-130 gunship and B-52 bomber, guidance kits for precision-guided munitions, cluster bombs, and GBU bunker-buster bombs that could penetrate concrete 11-feet thick.
Boeing AC-130 gunship [Source: warisboring.com]
According to British author Jonathan Steele, at least 13,000 Afghan civilians died from U.S. bombing from October 7 to late December 2001 alone, with thousands more having been forced to flee Afghanistan as refugees or becoming internally displaced.
At the time of the U.S. invasion, Afghanistan had been facing a severe drought which was compounded by the terrible humanitarian consequences of the war and led thousands of Afghans to die from malnutrition, disease or exposure.
In October 2015, AC-130 gunships fired 211 shells on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, causing the deaths of at least 42 patients and hospital workers, with some patients burning to death in their beds.
Bombed out Kunduz hospital. [Source: abcnews.go.com]
Dr. Evangeline Cua, a Filipino doctor who worked at the hospital described a hellish scene in the bombed out hospital in which the ceiling crashed down on her and in which people were screaming in terror while asking why the hospital had been targeted.
Wolf, who narrated a special 30-minute segment on the bombing, noted that the Pentagon attributed the catastrophe to human and technical error, however there was evidence to indicate that the coordinates of the hospital had been given to American pilots by an Afghan commander who wanted members of the Taliban being treated there killed.
Derrick Gregory, an independent journalist, found a redacted version of the official military report to be “profoundly unsatisfactory” with “brutishly heavy handed redactions” that “suppressed transcripts from pilot radio communications.”
According to Wolf, ultimate culpability for the bombing lies not only with the military but also the manufacturers of the AC-130 gunship and its high tech missile systems (Lockheed, Boeing and Raytheon), which should have never been unleashed in an urban area.
Wolf emphasized that the AC-130 gunship was a “weapon of colonial enforcement” that evolved out of the AC-47 gunship, nicknamed “Puff the Magic Dragon,” which had been used extensively in Vietnam as an instrument of terror against the local population.
Puff the Magic Dragon flies over South Vietnam.
Collectively, the two gunships are responsible for unimaginable human suffering among people who have fought back against repeated foreign invaders, each one as venal as the other.
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This article was first posted in CovertAction Magazine