The fallacy of Islamic 'national suicide'

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Afghanistan, Conflicts And War, War Channel: Opinion Views: 4525

"Civilian casualties have been a continuing issue in Afghanistan, and President Karzai has rebuked American and NATO forces for what he has called carelessness in their military operations."

This is the genteel, bloodless language of geopolitics, spoken by the Gray Lady and the heads of state and makers of policy whom she serves. You wouldn't know that "carelessness" referred to killing a bride (and twenty-some guests) on her wedding day, except that the observation comes at the end of the New York Times' account of our July 6 bombing of an Afghani wedding, which followed a Fourth of July missile strike in that country -look at the fireworks, Mom! -that killed 15 innocent civilians. Careless superpower indeed.

What you would never guess is that "carelessness" meant a deliberate U.S. policy of waging the war on terror from the air. But that has been our policy all along, from "shock and awe" and "mission accomplished" to "the surge is working." It is undebated, unreported, unquestioned, this policy conceived with the vacuous single-mindedness of serial killers. The death it has caused has not been calculated and is perhaps incalculable, especially when you factor in the time-bomb effects of depleted uranium and other deadly substances that bombing spreads both locally and around the world.

To my mind, nothing, not even the torture we practice at Guantanamo and throughout the war on terror gulag, exemplifies the disconnect between U.S. policy and the American people like the sanitized horror of the air war.

When the Nazis dropped 50 tons of explosives on the Spanish city of Guernica in 1937, the world called it barbaric. Today, such a pummeling of some hapless Third World region is routine, transformed by an embedded and co-opted media into "humdrum ordinariness," as Tom Engelhardt has pointed out. (You'll recall, of course, that Colin Powell, when he lied before the U.N. General Assembly about Iraqi WMD shortly before we invaded, had the tapestry reproduction of Picasso's "Guernica" covered up to avoid any awkward triggering of conscience.)

That we have lost control of our government, money-dominated and obsessed with secrecy as it is, is less surprising to me than the extent to which we have lost our watchdog media, which can't even rouse itself awake long enough to spot the patterns in its own routine coverage of the war. Shall we take a stroll down Memory Lane?

"Ooh, that's gotta hurt," I recall a colleague of mine saying back in mid-March of '03, as the invasion got under way and the shock-and-awe campaign played nonstop on the tube. The relentless air assault on Baghdad killed untold Iraqis but utterly failed in its intended purpose of "decapitating" the Saddam Hussein regime, killing not a single high government official.

In April 2003, we got word that Hussein and his two sons were meeting in a building in the Mansur district of Baghdad. Within 45 minutes, we flattened the building with four high explosive bombs, creating a crater 40 feet deep and killing an unknown number of people, but not Hussein or his sons. 

"They found one boy's body on the roof of that house over there," an Iraqi later told a reporter. "I heard that the father went out for ice cream and wouldn't let his children come with him. When we came back, they were dead. He must be dying of grief."

Shortly before Christmas 2003, USA Today, in a rare instance of independent war coverage, published the results of its four-month investigation of cluster bomb usage in the first months of the war.

"Although U.S. forces sought to limit what they call 'collateral damage' in the Iraq campaign, they defied international criticism and used nearly 10,800 cluster weapons; their British allies used almost 2,200," reporter Paul Wiseman wrote. Describing the "steel rain" that devastated the central Iraq city of Al Hillah, he noted that images of the aftermath, "including footage of a baby torn in half, were so gruesome that Western television networks refused to air them."

Back to Afghanistan, where Taliban-hunting with bombs and missiles has been commonplace. University of New Hampshire professor Marc Herold, who monitored the early phases of the war, wrote in 2002 that "the documented high level of civilian casualties" is caused by "the apparent willingness of U.S. military strategists to fire missiles into, and drop bombs upon, heavily populated areas of Afghanistan."

One example, from about a year ago: We bombed a school in eastern Afghanistan; seven children died. A Pentagon spokesman explained: "If we knew that there were children inside the building, there was no way that that air strike would have occurred."

We can't wage war without a wide moral latitude. The public has limited capacity for collateral damage even in the abstract, and none at all for actual details, such as babies torn in half by cluster bombs. But this is the war on terror, which we will never win until we face the truth about what we're doing and stop doing it. Forever.

Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, is an editor at Tribune Media Services and nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column at [email protected] visit his Web site at

2004 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Afghanistan, Conflicts And War, War  Channel: Opinion
Views: 4525

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Older Comments:
Hello Rouad:

Have you ever tried to imagine to be a Shia in S.Arabia? Possibly they are after cutting their throat!

There is no animosity between Shias, Sunnis you say and all Muslims are brothers. read history of Iraquis and Iranians if you are old enough. They slaughtered each other not long ago and used poisonous gas. What did saddam apious Muslim do on Kurdish Muslims? He used Mustard Gas.

Where is this nonsens about Islamic brotherhood and Muslim Ummah?

You are dreaming or hullucinating, dear Boy.


Mr. Chander: If I go to paradise, and u burn in hell then ?ll not have to visit IVIEWS to see ur condition. I hope Allah will admit me in His Paradise. But I do not want u to burn in hell which is not a good place really. You may ridicule but ur mockery may be reason for ur misery on the Day of Judgement. I hope you to enjoy this world and put forward a little bit for the hereafter. If you spend all ur good here and leave nothing for hereafter, then its u wholl have to pay the price. The currency of the hereafter is not DOLLAR dear. A million dollars will not help u in the least, be sure of that. And I pray to Allah, to give u all that u deserve.

You don't go around beating women and the elderly (or anybody else for that matter) to a bloody pulp and expect them to be good to you! That's uncivilized draconian barbaric actions which even a 5 year old knows that it is counterproductive. Have you not heard of the universal word of wisdom: "Do not do unto others what you don't like be done unto you". You do know that but are obstinately refusing to agree. As expected you're making up cheap assumptions in order to justify the criminal acts of your Zionist masters, time and again ... to the extent of contradicting common sense.

The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: "He who abuses a dhimmi [non-Muslim citizen] then I will be his rival and dispute him on the Day of Judgment."

The above saying is enough to see how much Islam gives honor to the dhimmis and it is enough to scare God-fearing muslims from having a thought of committing such a despicable act as beating a woman savagely. Anybody violating it would surely be severely punished by the law as Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur'an in referring to judging between the citizens:

"And if you judge, judge with justice between them. Verily, Allah loves those who act justly." [Qur'an 5:42]

Also check (Qur'an 4:135) and (Qur'an 5:8).

Whereas it is impossible for non-Jews to receive justice from Jewish courts. It is also pointless and illogical to hope for even a semblance of justice under a foreign military occupation and especially when their holy book ordered them to treat non-jews like non-human beings, as if they were animals!

Note to Nizam (India):

Well, it is good that you found out what kind country USA is quite early and left. Yes, this country is decadent. But some people love to enjoy decadence now that worry about going to heaven.

Please visit IVIEWS when you reach heaven. We like to know your condition there.

Note to A.R (UK):

Your recent post (#49231) makes absolutely no sense. Why can't you stick with the subject under discussion?. Don't let your mind wander in every direction; that way you cannot think straight. Who were you replying to? and what were you replying? Learn to communicate. Read your post again. Does it make any sense? You cannot communicate if it does not make any sense. There is time to discuss each subject. What were you discussing?

TO JONNY: We all should remember God at all times because thats where our journey ends and he has given us faculty for being just and given intellect and a sound mind so that we can try to understand. Everyone of us are equipped with a conscience which directs us to what is right and what is wrong. If u ignore that and do things against it, u r simply violating the lwas of the Almighty and ull have to answer for that. So invoking God is not disservice to God, rather forgetting Him is certainly a disservice to Him. I am trying to remind all that theyll have to return to their Creator, no matter what, so that they should be prepared for that. I hope, this will help u.

As I understand, u enjoy Chanders comments because u have some commonality with him, which may not be very good for ur soul. But u have the freedom to choose whatever u like, but be ready to pay the price. You cannot escape the Judgement of ur Creator for sure.

NOTE TO MR. CHANDER: Yeah, I had a wish to work in US and make some money so that I can improve the lot of my poor family, which is what God want us to do. To help others but not at the cost of morality, which is what u r doing. In fact, I got a visa and I worked for 2 years in US but as I did not like their attitude I left that country. I did not want to compromise my belief and morality for the sake of few dollars, which as Allah willed I am still earning. Do not sell ur God given faculty for mere happiness of this world, because ull certainly be questioned on the day of Judgement and ur dollars will not be of any help. u may deny now, but remember u were not born with the permission of ur parents or anyone else, in same way God will not ask u if u want to be resurrected or not, ull be given life and will be questioned. I hope, ull refelct on that and at least will be brave enough to say wrong is wrong, no matter what.

A.R FROM UK said:
What can you do with these unhealthy minds?
Gandhi a peace maker according to Hindus myth tic mind, (whose time has seen a vast bloodshed of Muslims that they did not know for centuries) whenever use to make a false statement and to retract it his words came as "whatever I say , it is not me it's my spirit that speaks."
Present Indian President Mrs Patil made a controversial statement about Muslim veil to get fame and later retracted the comments with the same statement as Gandhi's " whatever I say, it is not me it's my spirit that speaks.".......(It was hard for BBC to take the burden of it so they have vanished the statement from the internet)

Not with any different senselessness' (so called intelligence) Mr Romesh Chander has come up with! If that is true then believe me every one of their spirit has got a devilish element. These kind of people do not even know why they are living in this world for? They are not here to take anything good, happy to live in quagmire of their own. So do not waste your time.

Note to A>R (UK):

I looked at the BBC video. Don't blame me; I have nothing to do with Jewish settlers beating up Palestinians.

May be, all that the Jews wanted was that Palestinians should behave like good 'dhimmies', and Palestinians refuse to comply. Remember, Jews behaved like good Dhimmies under muslim rulers, and muslim rulers left them alone. Unfortunately, Palestinians won't do that. It is all a question of reciprocity. That is why Palestinians are not full fledged citizens of Isreal/Palestine.

Just an observation of history, which I am sure most muslims don't have a clue.

A.R FROM UK said:
Have they got any shame including Romesh Chander!

I've always enjoyed reading Romesh's comments. They are always so down-to-earth and incisive.

We shouldn't use God or whoever to counter his arguments. Because if ultimately the situation remains or when mere mortals have to do the job for GOD then I think we're doing a great disservice to the Almighty. Isn't it?


Dear Nizam: no am not surprised but I have hope for humanity at large.

Romesh; this is what you said; you pay Israel to: "keep Arabs under control".

Now we can see your true colour which is racist but am surprised it comes from an ethnic Indian taking refuge in America.

It may be fashionable today to bet up on Arabs and Muslims but Romesh; life/death is a very long time beyond you and your ancestors.

Enjoy your freedom in your newfound land. Just as the day follows night, the tide shall indeed turn. Try seeing the bigger picture.

That all from me. Thank you.

Note to Nizam (India):

Don't you wish, you had Visa to US and made some good money. I think, you can get Visa to work in in muslim countries like Saudi Arabia/Dubai; people are getting rich there -- lot more richer than in US.

To Ahmed: Brother, idol worshippers are materialistic people, they only understand money and happiness of the world. It does not matter at what moral cost it comes by. That is the case for the people like Mr. chander. As US is giving him many opportunities, he is happy, because his conscience is inactive. So his supporting of israel or any other crime commited by anyone does not bother him anymore. So its futile to expect from him things like morality or such. They worship idol for money, and when US is providing that, it is his god. So ignore that man. People like him are fuel for fire. So let him do what he is doing.
Moreover, remember Allah (SWT) warned us long ago that jews/Christians/idol worshippers are friends amongst themselves, so does it surprise you that chander is happy to provide money to israel to help them carrying out the crime? Im not surprized!!!

Note to Amed from Baharain:

Yes, US Taxpayers support Israel. But we get rewarded many times more. Israel does keep Arabs under control; it is lot cheaper to pay Israel to do it than US doing it. If Israel messes up, Israel is in trouble, not US. As you know, anywhere US intervenes directly, it messes up and costs it lot more (best example is Iraq).

So, we are very happy to pay our proxy Israel.


You again with your childish remarks:

"Personally, I could care less for Shias, Sunnis and Zionists."

1) Do you really not care about killing innocent humans regardless who they are?

2) Even as you say you do not care about Zionists, your tax dollars support them to occupy, kill and wage wars, over the last 60 years.

3) You either do not know you are directly supporting them thro your taxes OR your are ignorant of this fact, OR you are just playing devil's advocate here OR you truly do not care for anyone except your own self.

Your continual one-sided comments on this website speak volumes for your character. No wonder we are in this predicament, for you directly support the very aggression that you say you do not care for.

You, my friend, are a very big part of this problem.

The question is who lives in a PINEAPPLE under the sea?
Chinese & Russians for sure and Iran quite possible as they make their own subs?



if you care less for the Shias, Sunnis and Zionists, then stop writing those outrageous comments.

There is no war between Sunnis and Shias, this is all political games being played by different parties who don't represent the people who have political interests. They use this label Sunnis vs. Shias to advance their agendas, and you Romesh are playing a great role in that on a smaller scale.


I wholeheartedly support US/Israel to bomb Iran because that will unite the muslim world, theyll then know that no muslim (it does not matter which sect) is friend of christian and jews. .. And isallah, bombing iran will expediate the process. Eventually, israels destruction will be complete and with that will come the end of US. Muslims only need to sacrifice more lives, thats it. Muslims now realizing that how much they love their life, they will be bombed and killed. Its better to die for a cause instead of dyeing of.. bomb.

The attack on Iran will result in total revolt against Sunni dictators and that wave will become the source of Israel's total destruction. The Zionists have succeeded in pressuring U.S. attack on Iraq, that has actually became detrimental to the existence of Israel only complimented by Hezbollah's victory of Israel. Looking at the map of the middle east, Iran may also destroy the middle eastern oil supplies in total that will quardouble the price of oil that will completely destroy the U.S, Chinese, Indian and European economies. Where does Israel goes from here? Just having nukes are not enough, look at Russia today. Who will fire 20 thousand of their nukes. They have no money. The only solution to the middle eastern problem is Israel should accept peace while they are powerful, otherwise read the history of crusaders. They were arrogant as Israel today. Saladdin literally destroyed them.


The war is between Sunni Dictators against Shia Democracy. Sunni dictators are not representing Sunni populace. They want as much a war against Iran as Israel does. Sunnis are actually proud of what Iran is standing and fighting for. Iran is not only making Sunnis and Shias proud, but showing the way to the rest of the world, how to stand against the most henious power on the earth, Israel.

Sunni Hammas and Shia Hizbollah are allies of Shia Iran today. Sunni dictators do not want a viable and democratic Sunni Palestanian state either. These Sunni dictators hate everything democracy whether from Shias or Sunnis does not matter.


Y.P. FROM US said:
Neo-con with the Nazi eagle under it. How childish!

Unfortunately the situation is lot more complicated. Sure, US/Israel want to 'nuke' Iran. But then what is the attitude of Arab world and Pakistan (or 'Sunni world') towards their Shia rival -- Iran. They all want Iran to be 'put in place'. Have you really Saudis coming out and saying they will embargo oil to US? Of course, no. Has Hosni Mubarak really come out against 'nuking' Iran? Of course, no. Neither have Sudanese and Pakistanis. Now Pakistan could simply declare that if US/Israel invade Iran, they will shut down the supply line to Afghanista. (Currently, practically all supplies must travel through Pakistan).

No, it is not war between Zionism and Shias. It is the war between Sunnis and Shias, and Zionists & Americans (for their own reasons) are in cahoots to wage this quick war.

So, stop being a crybaby. You are part of the problem.

Personally, I could care less for Shias, Sunnis and Zionists.