An Afghan scholar who survived the Feb. 12 massacre of five members of his family at the hands of U.S. special operations forces is calling on President Obama to judge for himself whether he is bringing “peace or murder” to the Afghan people.
American soldiers initially tried to cover up the killings, going so far as actually digging their bullets out of the bodies of the three women they had shot — two of whom were seven-months pregnant.
NATO headquarters, led by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then joined the cover-up and repeatedly tried to discredit Jerome Starkey, the intrepid British reporter who didn’t believe the military press releases and went to investigate what happened on his own.
“They say they have come to protect us, they have come for peace and providing security,” Mohammad says. (See the video, below.) “But on the contrary, they are killing us and we are awaiting our deaths….
“I tell Mr. Obama that you fight for security on this planet, but your people came and mass-murdered government people in blood in Khataba, Gardez District.
“You be the judge yourself, Mr. Obama, the president of the United States, whether you sent them to bring peace or mass-murder government people? Including women, men, government employees and even pregnant women.? I let Mr. Obama judge this.”
Mohammed was celebrating the birth of his uncle’s grandchild at a family compound when, around 4 a.m., he heard gunshots.
“The American forces had placed the house under siege. They had climbed on rooftops and killed everyone from the rooftops,” he said.
The two men shot dead were the local police chief and a regional attorney general.
“My son Mansoor’s fiancé was killed. My cousin’s wife was killed. And my uncle’s two grandchildren were injured,” Mohammad said. He also said that two of the dead might have been saved if American forces had allowed the family to take them to the hospital.
Brave New Films has launched a petition drive to demand a United Nations investigation of the cover up.
“It is because they could hide their cruel intentions from the international attention,” Mohammed said. “But on the contrary, we were present there.”
Earlier this month — almost two months after the massacre — U.S. officials finally admitted the cover-up to the New York Times.
Obama has remained silent on the matter. He’s also not commented on the recent rash of civilian shootings, including four civilians in a passenger bus on April 10, and four more in a car earlier this week. USA Today reported just last week that deaths of Afghan civilians by NATO troops have more than doubled this year.
Civilian casualties — they used to be from bombs, now they’re from bullets — have a tremendously negative effect on the American war effort, turning both the Afghan people and the government from friends into enemies. They are also just plain tragic.
I remember back in May, after the first major civilian bombing incident of Obama’s tenure, how surprised many of us were that there was no sign that it weighed heavily on President Obama’s heart. I wondered:
Have we all, including Obama, gotten so desensitized to the violent death of civilians at our hands, ostensibly in the name of fighting terror? Is this another tragic Bush legacy?
Where is Obama’s anger, his sadness, his regret, his vow to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again?
Now I wonder that again — along with wondering why Congress seems to have no interest in finding out what happened, much less feeling bad about it.