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Je Suis Kunduz: Even War Has Rules

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Je Suis Kunduz: Even War Has Rules

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is at the picture

On 3 October, 22 people were killed and over 30 were injured when the US Air Force launched airstrikes at MSF hospital (Doctors without borders) during the battle of Kunduz.

12 out of the 22 dead were hospital staff, and 10 were patients, including 3 children. 6 intensive care patients were burned to death in their beds, and another patient died after the staff had to leave him on the operation table.

The hospital was the only trauma center in northeastern Afghanistan. In 2014, more than 22 000 patients were treated at this emergency center and a little less than 6 000 operations were performed.

We witnessed different views on the story but some medias tried to report the case as a completely different situation. The journalist Glen Greenwald (the same one who helped Edward Snowden to leak the NSA files) condemned that The New York Times and CNN intentionally reported that the US investigate the case but failed to report that the US themselves were involved in the tragedy.

First, all the media tried to avoid the fact that the US were the ones to bomb the hospital. Even, the BBC mentioned ‘’Afghan airstrike’’ in an early post.

Then, the US took responsibility for the attack, but claimed that it was an accident. It is noticeable, however, that the attack continued 30 minutes despite the fact that the US and Afghan forces had the MSF GPS coordinates and continued even after they pleaded with them to stop.

Next, the US took responsibility for its actions and said that they had intentionally targeted the hospital but only because they believed that inside it there were Taliban fighters, using it as a base, even though MSF stated that there were no evidence and no one saw Taliban fighters inside it.

And, now, US is blaming Afghan forces for directing the US to strike the hospital. It feels like the US is going through the denial, acceptance stage, we expect them soon to make up their mind.

What is more, in Geneva MSF director, Joanne Liu demanded a formal, independent investigation on the case. She insisted on investigation based on the war crime-investigating procedures established by the Geneva Conventions and conducted by The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. ‘’Even war has rules.’’ Liu said. ‘’This was just not an attack on our hospital. It was an attack on the Geneva Conventions. This cannot be tolerated”. Liu insists on ‘’independent and impartial’’ investigations because ‘’ We cannot rely on internal military investigations by the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces.’’

This is something that sounds fair and we expected that it won’t be a problem, but it seems as if the US have problems with that. The US State Department, through its spokesperson Mark Toner, said that no such thing is necessary.

“QUESTION: The — so MSF is calling for an independent investigation of this incident by a neutral international body. Is that something the administration would support?

MR TONER: Well, we’ve got three investigations underway. Certainly, we’ve got our own DOD-led investigation. We obviously strongly believe that can be a very transparent and accountable investigation. Let’s let these three investigations run their course and see what the results are.

I would say — and I know the White House spoke about this earlier — we have reached out to some of the leadership in Médecins Sans Frontières to express our condolences over this tragic incident. But as to whether there needs to be an independent fourth investigation, we’re satisfied, I think, at this point that enough investigations are underway that we’ll get to the truth.

QUESTION: You don’t think that with the U.S., which is — which has an interest in how this investigation proceeds and what the outcome is, and being involved in all three investigations somehow affects the legitimacy of it?

MR TONER: I mean, frankly, I think we’ve proven over time that we can investigate incidents like these — like this, and as I said, hold anyone accountable who needs to be held accountable, and do it in such a way that’s transparent and, I think, credible.

QUESTION: Just along those lines 

MR TONER: Please.

QUESTION: MSF has said that this is a clear presumption of a war crime that’s been committed here. Some have suggested that the ICC take it up. Is it a safe bet that the U.S. would vote against/veto any attempt in the Security Council to bring this incident for — up for an ICC investigation?

MR TONER: I don’t want to answer a hypothetical. On the war crime question itself, we’re just not there yet, and I don’t want to prejudge any outcome of any investigation.

Please, sir.

QUESTION: What do you mean, “We’re just not there yet”?

MR TONER: I mean we’re conducting investigations, we’re looking at this very closely, and we’re going to, as multiple folks have said including the president over the weekend — that we’re going to hold those accountable and it’s going to be a credible investigation.

QUESTION: Does that mean

QUESTION: So it’s conceivable to you that this could have been a war crime?

MR TONER: I said we’re not — we’re letting the investigations run their course.

QUESTION: Well, regardless of whether or not you

MR TONER: I’m not going to — I’m not even — yeah, please, Matt.

QUESTION: No, but I want to

MR TONER: Sure, go ahead. Sorry.

QUESTION: Is it not — I mean, it’s always been assumed, I think — and I just want to know if this assumption is still safe — that the U.S. would oppose an attempt to refer an incident involving U.S. troops to the International Criminal Court.

MR TONER: That’s

QUESTION: I mean, as it’s — as it was being formed, you guys ran around signing these Article 98 —

MR TONER: That’s a perfectly sound assumption.”

This is not something that surprises us any longer. Even though the US says it’s nothing more than a tragic accident, we should look at the facts. America will always repeat that this wasn’t a war crime even though all the evidences are against them. But we should look at the evidence- it already looks like there are huge logical fallacies in the US case. There is no point the Afghan allies to bomb it because it was viewed this with hostility because it treated all patients equally as human beings including the Talibans. We’re tired of seeing the US destroyong civilian targets under suspicious circumstances and then fixing everything with a simple sorry as Obama expressed his apology yesterday. The US said that they even MAY contact the the victim’s relatives and support them financially. We’ve seen this. A simple sorry is not enough to stop the war.

Written by Yoana Manoilova for SouthFront

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