Today we know that Sunday's drone strike killed ten members of two Kabul families, government employees, including seven children, two of them only two years old. A gruesome example of the whole terrible war: US and allied forces, claiming to stand up for human rights and the fight against terrorism, carry out reckless, imprecise attacks on targets, usually from a distance. They do this to avoid the political fallout that would result if their own troops were killed. Whether or not the attacks actually kill the intended targets, many civilians are also slaughtered: Sometimes dozens at a time, including entire families. As a result, anti-American sentiment is growing. Attacks on Americans and their local allies become more likely. The insurgent forces that the coalition is supposedly fighting are strengthened.
But, as the events that followed soon showed, this is exactly the wrong lesson to take away from the terrible events going on in Afghanistan. Vowing to ISIS-K that he would “hunt you down and make you pay” — and no doubt keen to save face and project “toughness” at a time when he and the withdrawal are being savaged at home and abroad — Biden ordered an air strike on the men who planned the attack on Friday, followed by another “defensive strike” against a suspected ISIS-K terrorist on Sunday.
The whole affair swiftly turned into a microcosm for the entire, foolish twenty-year war. We now know Sunday’s drone strike killed ten members of two Kabul families, seven of them children, two of them as young as two years old. Even more tragically, being government workers, the families were due to be airlifted out of Kabul, and the car they were in had been attacked by a US drone just as the kids had packed into it to learn how to drive in time for their move to the United States. In other words, at the behest of hawks who have used the plight of Afghan translators and government workers to try and maintain the US war there, the military just murdered these very same Afghans.
Neighbors told Al Jazeera the blast turned their house into a “horror scene,” its walls plastered with blood and bits of human flesh, and bones scattered in the bushes. The atrocity understandably inflamed anger in the neighborhood, with one of the neighbors telling the news outlet: “If you can’t manage to hit the right target, then leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.”
This is exactly what was happening throughout this entire, horrible war: US and allied forces, claiming to stand for human rights and the fight against terrorism, launch reckless, imprecise attacks on targets, usually from a distance to avoid the political fallout that would result from their own troops getting killed; whether or not the attacks actually kill their intended targets, they also slaughter many more civilians, sometimes dozens of them at a time, including whole families; and in the fallout, anti-American sentiment grows, attacks on Americans and their local allies become more likely, and the hand of the insurgent force that the coalition is ostensibly fighting becomes strengthened.
This is what whistleblower Daniel Hale, who had worked on the US drone program in Afghanistan and elsewhere, saw firsthand. Of course, he is now in jail for telling the public how distinctly un-surgical these attacks are, while those who slaughtered these children on Sunday will be fine: they did their jobs, in the twisted logic of the national security state.