What bothers me about most discussions on military interventions is that they focus far too much on our goals, when the means should matter just as much to us and maybe even more.
Two months ago, Human Rights Watch protested: “Civilian deaths in Afghanistan from US and NATO airstrikes nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007, with recent deadly airstrikes exacerbating the problem and fuelling a public backlash.” – Afghanistan: Civilian Deaths From Airstrikes
Since then, many more civilians have lost their lives, because those responsible didn’t listen and didn’t care enough. And, today, just another tragedy underlined the necessity to reconsider current strategies: “An airstrike by United States-led forces killed 40 civilians and wounded 28 others at a wedding party in Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Wednesday. The casualties included women and children, the officials said”.
I am not a pacifist. And I am not naive. I know that there never was or will be a war without civilian casualties. But I don’t see that we care enough about minimizing them.
40 people were just killed by bombs dropped from U.S. planes! Why is there no outcry? Why isn’t it on top of the agenda? Why aren’t our politicians flying to Afghanistan to voice their concerns and regrets? Why don’t our flags fly on half mast? Why don’t we ever stand in silence for just a minute to remember the people who were accidentally killed in our wars?
People in the West need to show their compassion for the people they are trying to help. If we don’t win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, we will never win the war against the Taliban or Al Qaida. And this should not even be the No.1 reason why we have to try even harder!