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#574121 --- 05/08/07 11:37 PM Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated
Retired Soldier Offline
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Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 12945
Loc: Rochester, NY
U.S. Apologizes for Raid on Afghan Civilians
Condolence Payments Issued to Families of 19 Cilivians Killed in Attack

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 8, 2007; 5:26 PM
A U.S. Army brigade commander in Afghanistan today told the families of 69 civilians who were killed or wounded by members of an elite Marine special forces unit in March that he is "deeply, deeply ashamed" about the incident, describing the series of shootings along a main civilian thoroughfare as a "terrible, terrible mistake."

Col. John Nicholson said he apologized to a group of Afghan people in the eastern Nangarhar province on behalf of the U.S. government and passed along so-called solatia payments of approximately $2,000 to the families of 19 innocent civilians who died as a result of the March 4 attacks. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon via a video feed from Afghanistan today, Nicholson said the payments were "essentially a symbol of our sympathy to them" and "a way of expressing our genuine condolences over the incident occurring."

U.S. commanders have said the incident began when a suicide bomber drove a small van filled with explosives into a Marine Forces Special Operations convoy that was on its way to a base in Jalalabad. The Marines then fired on people nearby and along several miles of their ensuing route through a crowded roadway, according to early investigative findings and an Afghan government human rights group.

Early estimates showed that about a dozen civilians were killed; Nicholson said today that the death toll has been confirmed as 19, with 50 wounded.

The incident -- which resulted in the largest number of civilian deaths from a single U.S. action in the country since the war began -- raised significant ire within the Afghan communities in the region. U.S. commanders quickly removed the Marine company from Afghanistan after the incident because of the tensions it could have caused with the local population, and Maj. Gen. Frank H. Kearney III, who is in charge of Special Operations Central Command, ordered an investigation.

"The people are the center of gravity here, so first and foremost in all that we do we seek to do no harm to the people," Nicholson said. "So events such as that do set us back with the population, and they have to be addressed very directly and forthrightly with the Afghan people."

Nicholson said he met with the families to explain that the United States goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, and he read a statement expressing regret and asking for forgiveness. Solatia payments of about $2,000 are fairly standard in Iraq and Afghanistan when commanders believe U.S. troops are responsible for civilian deaths or damage to civilian buildings; they are not legal admissions of guilt or a crime and instead are intended as signs of good will in war zones where the enemy is often hard to distinguish from the innocent.

"We are filled with grief and sadness at the death of any Afghan, but the death and wounding of innocent Afghans at the hand of Americans is a stain on our honor and on the memory of the many Americans who have died defending Afghanistan and the Afghan people," Nicholson read from the statement. "This was a terrible, terrible mistake."

Marine Forces Special Operations Command officials said most of the Marine company is in Kuwait. Eight members of the unit -- including the company commander and the company's senior non-commissioned officer -- have returned to Camp Lejuene to assume duties there while an investigation continues.

"We regret the March 4 ambush of the Marine Special Operations Company in Afghanistan and offer our deepest sympathy to all of those involved," Maj. Cliff W. Gilmore, a MARSOC spokesman, said in a statement today. "The events related to that ambush are currently under investigation. In the interest of preserving the presumption of innocence that all U.S. service members deserve when facing allegations of misconduct, we will not characterize the incident until we have all the facts."

Nicholson said investigators with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are in Afghanistan interviewing witnesses and victims. Kearney told The Washington Post last month that there has been no evidence discovered that the Marine unit took enemy fire after the suicide bomb was detonated.

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#574209 --- 05/09/07 02:30 AM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: Retired Soldier]
Strawberry Jam Offline
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Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
Here we go again....but I notice you could not have cared less about the story of a plot to kill soldiers at Ft Dix by terrorists right here in the US.

Marines ...bad. Army....bad. All other people who are our enemies...good.

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#574234 --- 05/09/07 04:14 AM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: Retired Soldier]
AbuDhabi Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 6474
Loc: Doha, Qatar
Originally Posted By: Retired Soldier
A U.S. Army brigade commander in Afghanistan today told the families of 69 civilians who were killed or wounded by members of an elite Marine special forces unit in March that he is "deeply, deeply ashamed" about the incident, describing the series of shootings along a main civilian thoroughfare as a "terrible, terrible mistake."


What representative of any other government ever made such a profound and unequivocal statement of apology such as that?

Did your pal Saddam ever apologize for what he did?
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#574236 --- 05/09/07 04:49 AM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: AbuDhabi]
VM Smith Offline
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Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 38160
Loc: Ship of Fools
Two grand AND an apology! You just watch, though; those ungrateful Afghans will start whining and bitching. If they don't love the US, they should just go back where they came from. Oh, wait a minute....Okay, I've got it: Why can't they get it through their thick, WOG heads that we're trine ta spred DIMOCRACY and the IDEELS of the HOMELAND!?
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#574249 --- 05/09/07 06:55 AM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: VM Smith]
AbuDhabi Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 6474
Loc: Doha, Qatar
Originally Posted By: VM Smith
Two grand AND an apology! You just watch, though; those ungrateful Afghans will start whining and bitching. If they don't love the US, they should just go back where they came from. Oh, wait a minute....Okay, I've got it: Why can't they get it through their thick, WOG heads that we're trine ta spred DIMOCRACY and the IDEELS of the HOMELAND!?


To whom would you attribute that type of reply? Nobody on this forum, I dare say.
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#574383 --- 05/09/07 01:02 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: AbuDhabi]
Strawberry Jam Offline
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Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
Hmmmm...does anyone see any mention of a "massacre being investigated" in this report?


Updated:2007-05-09 08:19:53
Airstrike in Afghanistan Kills 21 Civilians
By NOOR KHAN
AP
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (May 9) - Airstrikes called in by U.S. Special Forces soldiers fighting with insurgents in southern Afghanistan killed at least 21 civilians, officials said Wednesday. One coalition soldier was also killed.

Helmand provincial Gov. Assadullah Wafa said Taliban fighters sought shelter in villagers' homes during the fighting in the Sangin district Tuesday evening, and that subsequent airstrikes killed 21 civilians, including several women and children.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly said more must be done to prevent civilian casualties during military operations. He warned last week, after reports that 51 civilians were killed in the west, that Afghanistan "can no longer accept civilian casualties they way they occur."

The U.S.-led coalition said militants fired guns, rocket propelled grenades and mortars at U.S. Special Forces and Afghan soldiers on patrol 15 miles north of Sangin.

Maj. William Mitchell, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, said troops killed a "significant" number of militants.

"We don't have any report of civilian casualties. There are enemy casualties -- I think the number is significant," Mitchell said without releasing an exact figure.

A resident of the area, Mohammad Asif, said five homes in the village of Soro were bombed during the battle, killing 38 people and wounding more than 20. He said Western troops and Afghan forces had blocked people from entering the area.

Death tolls in remote battle sites in Afghanistan are impossible to verify. Taliban fighters often seek shelter in Afghan homes, leading to civilian casualties, and it is often difficult to determine if people killed in such airstrikes were militants or civilians.

The battle left one coalition soldier dead, the U.S. military said. The military did not release the soldier's nationality, but it was likely an American Special Forces soldier.

Sangin, a militant hotbed in the heart of Afghanistan's biggest opium poppy region, has been the site of heavy fighting in recent weeks.

The soldier's death brings to 48 the number of NATO or coalition soldiers who have died in Afghanistan this year.

The report of civilian casualties comes less than a week after Afghan officials said that 51 civilians were killed in the western province of Herat.

It also comes one day after the U.S. military apologized and paid compensation to the families of 19 people killed and 50 wounded by U.S. Marines Special Forces who fired indiscriminately on civilians after being hit by a suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan in March.

Afghanistan's upper house of parliament on Tuesday passed a bill calling for a halt to all international military operations unless coordinated with the Afghan government, action seen as a rebuke of the international mission here.


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
05/09/07 03:28 EDT

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#574451 --- 05/09/07 02:34 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Retired Soldier Offline
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Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 12945
Loc: Rochester, NY
SJ, you need to do a little reading. Try the new manual on unconventional warfare that Petraeus and his staff recently put together for the Army. He emphasizes that there are times that using your weapons is counterproductive. You know that old hearts and minds stuff we screwed up in Vietnam? Well, we are screwing it up again in Afghanistan and Iraq with the same predictable results.

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#574457 --- 05/09/07 02:35 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: Retired Soldier]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
Originally Posted By: Retired Soldier
SJ, you need to do a little reading. Try the new manual on unconventional warfare that Petraeus and his staff recently put together for the Army. He emphasizes that there are times that using your weapons is counterproductive. You know that old hearts and minds stuff we screwed up in Vietnam? Well, we are screwing it up again in Afghanistan and Iraq with the same predictable results.


Show me where in the article I posted there is ANY mention of an investigation. So now Petraeus is your hero, huh?

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#574539 --- 05/09/07 03:38 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: Strawberry Jam]
LaughinWillow Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
Sometimes you're just really bizarre. Did you even READ the original article?

"Marine Forces Special Operations Command officials said most of the Marine company is in Kuwait. Eight members of the unit -- including the company commander and the company's senior non-commissioned officer -- have returned to Camp Lejuene to assume duties there while an investigation continues.

"We regret the March 4 ambush of the Marine Special Operations Company in Afghanistan and offer our deepest sympathy to all of those involved," Maj. Cliff W. Gilmore, a MARSOC spokesman, said in a statement today. "The events related to that ambush are currently under investigation. In the interest of preserving the presumption of innocence that all U.S. service members deserve when facing allegations of misconduct, we will not characterize the incident until we have all the facts."

Nicholson said investigators with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are in Afghanistan interviewing witnesses and victims. Kearney told The Washington Post last month that there has been no evidence discovered that the Marine unit took enemy fire after the suicide bomb was detonated.
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#574542 --- 05/09/07 03:42 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: LaughinWillow]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
Originally Posted By: LaughinWillow
Sometimes you're just really bizarre. Did you even READ the original article?

"Marine Forces Special Operations Command officials said most of the Marine company is in Kuwait. Eight members of the unit -- including the company commander and the company's senior non-commissioned officer -- have returned to Camp Lejuene to assume duties there while an investigation continues.

"We regret the March 4 ambush of the Marine Special Operations Company in Afghanistan and offer our deepest sympathy to all of those involved," Maj. Cliff W. Gilmore, a MARSOC spokesman, said in a statement today. "The events related to that ambush are currently under investigation. In the interest of preserving the presumption of innocence that all U.S. service members deserve when facing allegations of misconduct, we will not characterize the incident until we have all the facts."

Nicholson said investigators with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are in Afghanistan interviewing witnesses and victims. Kearney told The Washington Post last month that there has been no evidence discovered that the Marine unit took enemy fire after the suicide bomb was detonated.


Yes I did read the original article, I was not referring to that one, but to the one I posted by the AP. That does not mention an investigation is being pursued.

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#574545 --- 05/09/07 03:46 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: Strawberry Jam]
LaughinWillow Offline
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Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
So what? I don't understand what your argument is. Unless this is just some petty thing between you and RS...
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#574547 --- 05/09/07 03:48 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: LaughinWillow]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
Originally Posted By: LaughinWillow
So what? I don't understand what your argument is. Unless this is just some petty thing between you and RS...


No, it is not a petty thing between RS and I. I just find it odd the AP would do this whole article on Afghanistan and civillains being killed and NOT mention an ongoing investigation into a massacre in Afghanistan.


Edited by Strawberry Jam (05/09/07 03:49 PM)

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#574552 --- 05/09/07 03:52 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Gio Offline
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Registered: 08/01/03
Posts: 16476
Loc: Cleveland
It's a petty thing with RS and company.
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#574591 --- 05/09/07 04:44 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: AbuDhabi]
VM Smith Offline
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Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 38160
Loc: Ship of Fools
You make much of the apology; I say, "Big deal; talk is more than cheap; it's free.".


Edited by VM Smith (05/09/07 04:47 PM)
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#574728 --- 05/09/07 06:40 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: VM Smith]
LaughinWillow Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
True. What's absurd is people in the US getting on a high horse and acting like the Afghanis would be in the wrong for not humbly appreciating that the US apologized after killing a bunch of innocent people - which makes us so much better than the despots who just kill and don't apologize later. *sigh* Sometimes I can hardly bear the stupidity.

And SJ, I'm not sure why you find it "odd" that you didn't get the entire story in one article. The original post here is from the Washington Post, not some crazy left wing website or something. What are you saying? That the incident is not under investigation? Do you think the quote from the military which states that it is under investigation was fabricated by the WP?
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War with civilization begins...
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#574981 --- 05/10/07 04:53 AM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: VM Smith]
AbuDhabi Offline
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Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 6474
Loc: Doha, Qatar
Originally Posted By: VM Smith
You make much of the apology; I say, "Big deal; talk is more than cheap; it's free.".


Then you doubt his sincerity?
_________________________
"I have no known mental disorder ." -CCT

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#574983 --- 05/10/07 05:01 AM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: LaughinWillow]
AbuDhabi Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 6474
Loc: Doha, Qatar
Originally Posted By: LaughinWillow
True. What's absurd is people in the US getting on a high horse and acting like the Afghanis would be in the wrong for not humbly appreciating that the US apologized after killing a bunch of innocent people - which makes us so much better than the despots who just kill and don't apologize later. *sigh* Sometimes I can hardly bear the stupidity.


You talking to me, sweetie?

The Afghanis are entitled to their feelings. My comments are directed to your dumbshit friend RBSer, who posted this silliness. My point is that we are not a bunch of heartless murderers who wantonly shoot down civilians and then blithely turn our backs on the results, as contrasted with the style of RBSer's buddies Saddam Hussain and Hafez Assad.

Being big enough to admit that you screwed up still counts for something in my book. The wording of this man's apology suggests that it is not an "Ooops, sorry -- shit happens" sort of statement. It sounds sincere to me, and with such sincerity there comes a genuine desire to avoid such mistakes in the future.
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#574986 --- 05/10/07 05:40 AM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: AbuDhabi]
VM Smith Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 38160
Loc: Ship of Fools
Originally Posted By: AbuDhabi
Originally Posted By: VM Smith
You make much of the apology; I say, "Big deal; talk is more than cheap; it's free.".


Then you doubt his sincerity?


No, he sounds sincere. But it's going to happen again, and how long will they put up with it? You could argue that wars don't go according to plan, and that they're necessarily brutal affairs, but this is going to get worse, just because it's dragged on too long. We tried to do it on the cheap, by enlisting the Northern Alliance, and then pulled our best troops out before finishing the job to go on the Iraq zero mission. The Taliban are mostly Pashtun, and we probably should have gone into Pakiland too, back when everyone was still scared of us.

I think that it's impossible to win a civil war in a foreign country, such as in Iraq, particularly if even our own puppet government wants us out. Afghanistan is a little different, and the people think more of us than they do in Iraq. We ought to stop digging the hole in Iraq, put some real force right along the Pakafghan border, and provide some security and infrastructure improvement in a place where we have a real shot at succeeding. Or we ought to pull out. I see the middle position as inviting the same disaster that is Iraq.

According to Petraeus's own coinsurg manual, we need 670,000 troops to succeed in Iraq, and that's not going to happen without a draft. Let's get those targets out of Iraq and put them where they can do some good, before the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates as well.

What do you call 40 polish guys in turbans?

A pack of Stanleys.


Edited by VM Smith (05/10/07 05:42 AM)
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If you vote for government, you have no right to complain about what government does.

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#575832 --- 05/11/07 10:37 PM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: VM Smith]
LaughinWillow Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
I also don't think that the troops want to go around killing civilians, nor do I doubt that most are sorry when civilians are killed. It's infuriating that, as VM points out, we could have used our forces and our money to really improve Afghanistan, rather than doing some half a$$ed job that only encouraged the return of the Taliban (if they were ever out of power in most of the country) and kept the people of that country living in squalor. On top of which, an equally bad job is being done in Iraq, so now we're creating more enemies in at least 2 countries - and probably the whole region, if we're honest, because all this stuff just serves as terrorist recruitment material. The problem all along has been that while the soldiers themselves probably would love to help and would love to actually spread freedom and improve the lives of people in other countries, the administration that dictates their movements certainly does not.
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War with civilization begins...
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#576179 --- 05/13/07 02:34 AM Re: Massacre in Afghanistan being investigated [Re: LaughinWillow]
VM Smith Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 38160
Loc: Ship of Fools
We probably went after the wrong country, because more Pashtuns live in pakistan than in Afghanistan, and Bin Laden is probably in Pakistan right now.

"The Pashtuns, Afghanistan's dominant ethnic group to which much of the Taliban belong, are a tribal society whose ancient culture and customs have evidently not been closely examined by the Bush administration. Roughly half of Afghanistan's population of 25.5 million is Pashtun. As many as 23 million Pashtuns live in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier and Baluchistan provinces, which border Afghanistan."

It helps to imagine that the Pashtun region doesn't have the border running through it, and that it is really a tribal region; the Pashtuns were there before the modern countries were.

However, Pakistan has nukes, and hasn't any oil, so the idea of invading it didn't interest the Bushistas.


Edited by VM Smith (05/13/07 02:35 AM)
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