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How many weddings later?......

Pause to reflect as you read this excellent piece "How Many Weddings Does the U.S. Have to Bomb Before We Realize Our Destructive Ways?" on TomDispatch.   The US seems to weddings and funerals in Pakistan and Afghanistan with regular monotony - killing many and mostly in error.   Nary much is done about such actions.    Tom Engelhardt rightly asks how the US would react if the same happened on American soil.

"But just over a week ago, an analogous “incident” did happen in Afghanistan and it passed largely unnoticed here.  A group of Taliban insurgents reportedly entered a house in a village in Logar Province, south of Kabul, where a wedding ceremony either was or would be in progress.  American and Afghan forces surrounded the house, where 18 members of a single extended family had gathered for the celebration.  When firing broke out (or a grenade was thrown) and both U.S. and Afghan troops were reportedly wounded, they did indeed call in a jet, which dropped a 500-pound bomb, obliterating the residence and everyone inside, including up to nine children.

"This was neither an unheard of mistake, nor an aberration in America’s Afghan War.  In late December 2001, according to reports, a B-52 and two B-1B bombers, using precision-guided weapons, wiped out 110 out of 112 wedding revelers in a small Afghan village.  Over the decade-plus that followed, American air power, piloted and drone, has been wiping out Afghans (Pakistanis and, until relatively recently, Iraqis) in a similar fashion -- usually in or near their homes, sometimes in striking numbers, always on the assumption that there are bad guys among them.

For more than a decade, incident after incident, any one of which, in the U.S., would have shaken Americans to their core, led to “investigations”  that went nowhere, punishments to no one, rare apologies, and on occasion, the offering of modest “solatium” payments to grieving survivors and relatives.  For such events, of course, 24/7 coverage, like future memorials, was out of the question.

Cumulatively, they indicate one thing: that, for Americans, the value of an Afghan life (or more often Afghan lives) obliterated in the backlands of the planet, thousands of miles from home, is next to nil and of no meaning whatsoever.  Such deaths are just so much unavoidable “collateral damage” from the American way of war -- from the post-9/11 approach we have agreed is crucial to make ourselves “safe” from terrorists.

By now, Afghans (and Pakistanis in tribal areas across the border) surely know the rules of the road of the American war: there is no sanctity in public or private rites.  While funerals have been hit repeatedly and at least one baby-naming ceremony was taken out as well, weddings have been the rites of choice for obliteration for reasons the U.S. Air Force has, as far as we know, never taken a moment to consider, no less explain.  This website counted five weddings blown away (one in Iraq and four in Afghanistan) by mid-2008, and another from that year not reported until 2009.  The latest incident is at least the seventh that has managed, however modestly, to make the news here, but there is no way of knowing what other damage to wedding parties in rural Afghanistan has gone uncounted.
 
Imagine the uproar in this country if a jet took out a wedding party.  Just consider the attention given every time some mad gunman shoots up a post office, a college campus, or simply an off-campus party, if you want to get an idea.  You might think then that, given the U.S. record of wedding carnage in Afghanistan, which undoubtedly represents some kind of modern wedding-crasher record, there might have been a front-page story, or simply a story, somewhere, anywhere, indicating the repetitive nature of such events."

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