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WASHINGTON, DC- On August 29, the State Department and Pentagon breathlessly announced that a so-called “ISIS planner” had been killed in a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan.
This was a clear, transparent attempt to fool the American people into thinking the Biden administration wasn’t going to be pushed around by terrorists in that country after our ill-fated exit.
Now we are learning it wasn’t two terrorists who were killed, but ten civilians, including seven children. If ever there was an incident to fuel more hatred for the U.S., this is it.
Breitbart reported that last Friday, CENTCOM commander Gen. Frank McKenzie issued an apology after an investigation revealed the sad truth of what took place in this regrettable drone strike. McKenzie acknowledged that Zemari Ahmadi, along with nine other civilians were killed in the attack, not so-called ISIS-K terrorists.
Despite the clear incompetence of our exit from Afghanistan, not one person who was involved has either been fired nor resigned. McKenzie is the first person to accept any kind of blame for anything to do with America’s sad exit from the 20-year Afghan engagement.
Still, McKenzie didn’t resign even after admitting fault.
Instead, even though offering a tepid apology for what he called a “tragic mistake,” McKenzie tried to equivocate, saying that the Pentagon believes it was “legal” under international law due to the circumstances.
McKenzie explained that the military had received intelligence that a “white Toyota Corolla, which is a common automobile even in Afghanistan, would engage in some type of attack. He said the military had no idea who was allegedly driving the vehicle. In other words, the Pentagon authorized a strike against a civilian without knowing who they were targeting.
Breitbart explained possible circumstances last week:
“International law permits the use of such targeted killings, under restricted circumstances. The target must be an enemy combatant; the target generally must pose an imminent or ongoing threat; and the attack must minimize the risk to non-combatants.”
While cases of mistaken identity or other mistakes, Breitbart noted, do not in and of themselves constitute violations of international law, negligent strikes or improperly motivated ones could possibly lead to legal consequences.
Had this strike occurred under the Trump administration Pelosi would have already had articles of impeachment drawn up and ready. At the very least, Democrats would be leading the charge to fire somebody. In this case, all we’ve heard is the sound of crickets.
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The U.S., under international law is required to investigate a case such as this which seems to be a clear violation of such law. The Pentagon (based on what McKenzie said) thinks they have fulfilled their obligations to do so. However, as Breitbart notes there are a number of questions that remain to be answered. They are:
- What was Joe Biden’s involvement in authorizing the strike? White House propaganda minister Jen Psaki noted on Aug 30 that Biden has delegated authority to military commanders, however received regular briefings. If so, was he aware this strike was going to be conducted and did he give his consent to proceed with it?
- As noted above, was this merely a political response in order to fool the American people into believing the administration was actually doing something aside from surrendering over $80 billion of sophisticated military equipment to the Taliban?
- Notably, why would the military launch a strike against an unknown person without any compelling evidence of an imminent threat? Remember when Trump had Soleimani taken out? Democrats, led by the useless Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) had a meltdown, alleging it was a violation of international law. Why the silence in this case? As McKenzie himself noted, the Pentagon had no awareness of the identity of the people inside the vehicle.
- Was this a case of bad intelligence fed to the U.S. and acted upon without confirmation? As Breitbart noted, there “has long been suspicion that different groups in Afghanistan feed false information to the U.S. to take out their rivals.” Was that the case here?
- While McKenzie said he accepted “full responsibility” for what happened, what exactly does that mean? If McKenzie truly accepted “full responsibility” for yet another bungled military operation under his watch, why hasn’t he resigned? Why has nobody else? Are there congressional hearings planned to find out what happened, and have people testify under oath? McKenzie himself said there may be further consequences, but if he was any type of leader, he would lead by example and resign.
- After the strike, the Pentagon said on Aug. 30 that “there was a high degree of confidence in the target.” The White House backed up the narrative. Why the cover up? (rhetorical question)
- Why did the U.S. back itself into a corner by abandoning Bagram air base, a well-protected, strategically located airfield? Karzai International Airport in Kabul was basically defenseless, was guarded by the Taliban and left the U.S. with no options.
- How did this mistake occur and exactly how accurate is the U.S. military when it comes to airstrikes? Common sense would dictate an immediate review of airstrike policy to ensure mistakes like this do not happen again in the future.
- The use of carefully targeted airstrikes to take out threats to the United States, such as Soleimani are an important arrow in the quiver of the U.S. military. Will this egregious error result in our national security being compromised by discouraging legitimate, accurate targeted killings of our enemies?
- Finally, will the United States via the Biden administration be forced to apologize to the Taliban regime and pay reparations? McKenzie was specifically asked about reparations and dodged the question.
As Breitbart notes, if the Taliban presses the issue, they may find international support from the numerous countries in the world who hate us. And knowing the feckless Biden, he will be more than willing to open the taxpayer’s wallet and drop it on the Taliban.
While McKenzie offered a public apology Friday, according to NBC News, nobody has contacted the family of those killed to do so.
“No one [has contacted] with us to apologize,” said Emal Ahmadi, whose toddler Milika was among the seven children killed in the ill-fated strike.
He said that he was surprised to hear of the public apology from the U.S. since he personally had not been contacted by a single U.S. official directly. He’s also looking for a pay day from the U.S.
“I lost ten members of our family, and the U.S. should pay. (The) U.S. should pay compensation for us and should transfer us from Kabul,” he said.
Another relative, Ramin Yousuf, a cousin of Ahmadi who was a military instructor with Afghan forces prior to the U.S. turning over Kabul to the Taliban, said the most important thing is the loss of their family.
“In one minute, we (lost) everything. What pain does this apology cure?”
He added, “We have no choice but this.”
He also fears the family could be targeted by the Taliban after they spoke out about their situation, which is why they are desperate to leave the city.
He said that U.S. officials should call the family directly and “apologize (to the) mother of every child” killed in the strike. NBC said they reached out to the Pentagon for comment but received no response.
To make matters worse, Ahmadi was actually an aid worker who worked for a U.S.-based nonprofit which was working to address malnutrition in Afghanistan. He had just pulled up at his home from work when his son Farzad, age 13 ran out to meet with him. It was then that the vehicle was struck by the U.S. drone, killing Ahmadi, Farzad, and eight other family members.
During the Friday announcement, McKenzie said that the United States was “considering ex gratia or reparations” for the incident and added that the Pentagon was in consultation with the office of the Secretary of Defense to determine a way forward there.”
He continued, however that “as you understand, it’s very difficult to reach out on the ground in Afghanistan, to actually reach people.”
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Author: Pat Droney
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