Thursday, October 15, 2015

US analysts intentionally targeted Kunduz hospital

Campbell told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "To be clear, the decision ... was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command. A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility." [my bolding]
 When I hear some denying something using the phrase: "I  would never..." or "We would never..." I get suspicious, like I am now of Gen. John Campell, the top US military officer in Afghanistan, who has shown himself to be either a shameless liar or a clueless idiot, given this latest AP story.
American special operations analysts were gathering intelligence on an Afghan hospital days before it was destroyed by a U.S. military attack because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity, The Associated Press has learned.
It's unclear whether commanders who unleashed the AC-130 gunship on the hospital — killing at least 22 patients and hospital staff — were aware that the site was a hospital or knew about the allegations of possible enemy activity. The Pentagon initially said the attack was to protect U.S. troops engaged in a firefight and has since said it was a mistake.
The special operations analysts had assembled a dossier that included maps with the hospital circled, along with indications that intelligence agencies were tracking the location of the Pakistani operative and activity reports based on overhead surveillance, according to a former intelligence official who is familiar with some of the documents describing the site. The intelligence suggested the hospital was being used as a Taliban command and control center and may have housed heavy weapons.
After the attack — which came amidst a battle to retake the northern Afghan city of Kunduz from the Taliban — some U.S. analysts assessed that the strike had been justified, the former officer says. They concluded that the Pakistani, believed to have been working for his country's Inter-Service Intelligence directorate, had been killed.
No evidence has surfaced publicly to support those conclusions about the Pakistani's connections or his demise. The former intelligence official was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
So some 'analysts' decided that the hospital was the lair of a 'Pakistani operative' and deliberately called in an attack on what they knew to be a protected medical facility. This was not a mistake based on bad maps and the fog of war. This was a deliberate decision by some 'analysts' to ensnare more of the US military in a war crime.
What the new details suggest "is that the hospital was intentionally targeted, killing at least 22 patients and MSF staff," said Meinie Nicolai, president of the operational directorate of Doctors without Borders, which is also known by its French initials MSF. "This would amount to a premeditated massacre. ... Reports like this underscore how critical it is for the Obama administration to immediately give consent to an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to find out how and why U.S. forces attacked our hospital."
The war crime has paid off for these 'analysts'. They get to continue their gig, entrapping more US military, past 2016.  So what if the military presence continues to make things worse for people in Afghanistan---these 'analysts' will get to burnish their resumes with even more and more analytic accomplishments in analysis in Afghanistan, and won't have to look for a different line of work for a while.

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