Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Two Versions of the US Destruction of a Hospital in Afghanistan

From:  Truth-Out

Monday, 16 November 2015 00:00  

By Laura Gottesdiener, TomDispatch | Op-Ed 

Army Gen. John Campbell, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, testifies for a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Oct. 6, 2015. Campbell told lawmakers that the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz was “mistakenly struck” as a result of “a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command.” (Doug Mills / The New York Times) Army Gen. John Campbell, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, testifies ​at​ a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, October 6, 2015. Campbell told lawmakers that the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz was "mistakenly struck" as a result of "a US decision made within the US chain of command." (Doug Mills / The New York Times)


When people ask me what my new job is like, I tell them that I wake up very early and count the dead. When I say "very early," I mean a few minutes after four a.m., as the sky is just softening to the color of faded purple corduroy. By "the dead," I mostly mean people across the world that my government has killed or helped another nation's government kill while I was sleeping.

Once I was a freelance reporter, spending weeks or months covering a single story. Today, I'm a news producer at Democracy Now! and, from the moment I arrive at the office, I'm scouring the wire services for the latest casualties from Washington's war zones. It's a disconcerting job for someone used to reporting stories on the ground. As I cull through the headlines - "Suspected US drone strike kills 4 militants in Pakistan"; "US troops dispatched to Kunduz to help Afghan forces" - I've never felt so close to this country's various combat zones. And yet I'm thousands of miles away.

Usually, I try to avoid talking about our wars once I leave the office. After all, what do I know? I wasn't there when the American gunship began firing on that hospital Doctors Without Borders ran in Kunduz, and I didn't get there afterwards either. Nor was I in Yemen's Saada province a few weeks later when a Doctors Without Borders health clinic was bombed.  MORE