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Is the US to blame for civilians deaths in Afghanistan air strikes?

Updated on March 18, 2012
The 2018 bomber
The 2018 bomber
Global strike
Global strike
NASIRIYAH,IRAQ - MARCH 23:United States Marines
NASIRIYAH,IRAQ - MARCH 23:United States Marines

The pilot who pulls the trigger is never the one to blame.

I will begin this debate by declaring that we’re not at war with the Afghan people. To suggest otherwise would be an over statement. We’re fighting Taliban while chasing down Al-Qeada, there are not the same. As far as I understood it to be, the concept behind this conflict is to defend our land against further attack from the Taliban. As a country we should be well aware of our predecessor’s mistakes as well as the threat we face.

The conflict started with Al-Qaeda as a response of 9/11. We got into Afghanistan because of their base for terrorism at least that is the universal claim. In that sense the intent of my argument was to focus on what is known instead of making speculation that may not be exactly right. Therefore, accepting the facts as they are, I've concluded that it was an over statement for Obama's administration to have claimed that we were at war with Afghanistan.

The Afghan people have never done anything to us nor did we ever do anything to the Afghan people, so how could we have been at war with the people. This is why I have stated that we’re fighting Taliban while chasing down Al-Qeada, the Afghan people have nothing to do with it. We got back into Afghanistan where the whole thing initiated because we now had to maintain a preventive action against our enemies to defend the possibilities that we may be attack again. The case with Iraq had attracted more enemy pressure on our side, and therefore had to maintain an offensive attack against our enemies in Afghanistan.

From my perspective the reason behind the troops in Afghanistan is as indicated: To assume that our enemy will not retaliate against us is a naïve position to embrace. It doesn’t matter who the president is we should not presume that the enemy will not retaliate as a mean to revenge past conflict. If we’re convince that we maybe attack by Taliban or Al-Qeada members than the best defense is an offensive move, because to stay home and wait for another attack would not be a wise idea. It was with this understand that I believe the Obama’s administration have asked our citizens for their patient and support. My only disarrangement with the president was the fact that he stated that we were at war with the Afghan people.

I don’t think that there were ever any needs to go to war with the Afghan people. The focus was always in favor of protecting the American people from harms. It may have been illogical to some that we had to deployed troops to Afghanistan to insure this safety, but those people might not be looking at the whole picture. The strategy that the Obama’s administration deployed focused on discouraging Taliban from organizing. And to accomplish that member of our military must be present in Afghanistan. This was the principle I use to understand the reason why our troop had to be in Afghanistan.

I honestly don’t think this is a conflict that the American people look forward to, but some do understand that it is one that is necessary for their safety. We can definitely use the money use to fund the Afghan conflict in our infrastructure, and job creation but it’s not possible at the moment if we're still face with potential threat. If we believe that there are chances that Taliban or Al-Qeada may retaliate against us than this money has properly been allocated for its cause.

If the above conditions that I have stated satisfy your understanding than we may proceed to further analysis. But I am not looking for fanatics; I already understand that as a country we're no angels. We've done a lot that we're not proud off, but that's not what we're talking about now.

The pilot who pulls the trigger is never the one to blame

Now, the premise of this debate: A ground target is strike by a bomber, a military precision aircraft design to shoot down the enemy combatant from its altitude to any given point of reference on the ground level. With that in mind can the aircraft pilot mistakenly hit the wrong target - of course yes?

However, we should not assume that in all cases where civilians have die because of a bomber strike, US is to blame. If our strategy is to prevent civilian casualties at all course than it could be seen as a weakness from a Taliban or Al-Qaeda point of view. In which case leaders of Al-Qaeda or Taliban can disguise themselves with civilian’s bodies as a way to avoid air strike against US bomber. Sometimes you have to place your mind in place of the militant so that you visualize the possibilities. And at the same time keep in mind when it comes to war the target is always the main focus.

The pilot who pulls the trigger is never the one to blame for air strike attacks. One of his many functions is to follow order conveyed by a higher rank officer. His job is to deliver the bomb at the precise location which he has been instructed to. The only time he is to blame is when he has disobeyed direct order or delivered more than he was asked to.

Knowing that, if Osama Bin Laden were to be pen pointed among civilian supporters would the US be wrong for risking civilian lives to take down Bin Laden or should we stand back as a mean to preserve civilian lives. I mean look I'm not saying that it should happen, but I'm just thinking in term of military strategies, and to know what is the right move will take a different mindset. In that case where this circumstance maybe troublesome to most to a military bomber pilots it may not even be a second thought. Since militants are trained to follow orders, they often don’t think of the consequences.

As we all know in war civilian casualties are always a problem. They have never been a war without civilian casualties. Perhaps, using ground forces as an alternative to Air bombers can minimize civilian casualties. But what good would that serve the US military when Afghanistan is a country of many mountains. It would seem to me that both air and ground forces would be necessary.

Come to think of it ground forces are just as dangerous as the air bombers. They both can cause massive civilian death. The difference lies in how the weapon is used. Regardless of the weapon used, to minimize civilian death the US military will have to avoid major landmark where people can be found in abundance. Places such as hospitals, Libraries and Mosque, places of worships.

To fight Al-Qaeda in a civilize manner if such thing exit. The US military will have to avoid using weapon that can cause massive civilian death. Those weapons are biological, chemical and unplanned air strike which at times can hit civilians. To prevent civilian death the US military must also obey international laws set forth by the Geneva Convention.

The strategy that can work best in this case would be for the US military to have informers on the ground level among the civilian population, informing the US military on Al – Qaeda’s way about. Having such information at hand would allow the military to make more precise decision on their enemies’ way about. But as some of us know, finding someone who speaks the Afghan language that the US intelligence can trust can be a difficult task.

Those who oppose this conflict believe that they should never have been one, which is understood because after coming from Iraq, Afghanistan can definitely be seen as a substitute for the war in Iraq. Then again they are those who would argue that this conflict will result to nothing. They believe that Afghanistan has never been defeated, and it’s not about to happen now.

As for me, that’s not what I see because it was never a conflict against the Afghan people. This conflict is in place as a mean to minimize the threat we face from terrorist. This conflict is not design to be won but instead to disrupt Al-Qeada and Taliban from organizing. That should have been the premise of Obama's arguments for our engagements in Afghanistan. Now, when the people ask us what are we still doing in Afghanistan we have no reasonable answer to give them.

Note: Anyone who has debated this issue without stating their position as to where they stand on this conflict could not have done it right. This is why I begin the debate by announcing first whether I was for or against the conflict. A person can't be against the Afghan conflict, and still think that US is not to blame, that would of-course be a contradiction. I argued that the pilot is never the one to blame, but at the same time the pilot represent US. But keep in mind that I also argued that the entourage of the Taliban should not be compromise, for it could be their tactic to prevent from getting captured.


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