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Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

By: Malalai Joya

April 10, 2011

The disgusting and heartbreaking photos published in March by the media are finally bringing the grisly truth about the war in Afghanistan to a wider public.

All the PR about this war being about democracy and human rights melts into thin air with these pictures of US soldiers posing with the dead and mutilated bodies of innocent Afghan civilians.

I must report that Afghans do not believe this be a story of a few rogue soldiers. We that is part and parcel of the entire military occupation. (more…)

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By: David French

April 3, 2011

Imagine—if you can—the following scene:

It’s midnight, and the desert sky glows orange from the flames of the burning Humvee. Your best friend is still in there, trapped. Or at least you think he is. You can’t be sure because the burning vehicle is behind you. All of your attention is focused ahead, 200 meters to the north, where six figures crouch in an irrigation ditch. Are they hostile? Why would six people be hiding in an irrigation ditch at midnight? Are they waiting to shoot down the medevac chopper that’s on its way to—you hope, you pray—save your friend’s life?

You see movement, and you call for permission to fire.

Thirty kilometers away, the scene is very different. In a busy tactical operations center, all eyes are fixed on a grainy, flickering, black-and-white image. The UAV feed keeps fading—it’s hardly as clear as the images you saw on the news before your deployment—but you can see the Humvee aflame, the frantic efforts to free the trapped soldier (Who is it? Do you know him?), and you can also see—when the camera pans north—six ghostly figures lying down in an irrigation ditch, in a perfect position to ambush the medevac helicopter.

But you don’t see any weapons. At least not clearly. The screen flickers again. You can’t be sure. (more…)

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By: Peter Singer

April 1, 2011

How many Afghan lives are worth one British life?

We shrink at that question. If forced to answer, some reply: “All human life is of infinite value.” Others cite the Jewish teaching that if you put one human life on one side of a scale, and the rest of the world on the other side, the scale is balanced equally. Most just say that an Afghan life is worth the same as a British life, because all human lives are of equal value. Isn’t that what we all believe?

The Ministry of Defence has been paying compensation to Afghans for accidentally killing their children, their brothers and sisters, or their parents, during the fighting in Afghanistan. Thanks to a freedom of information request from the Guardian, we know how much the MoD has paid families when a member has been killed. Here are some examples: daughter hit by shrapnel from air-strike and later died of injuries, $1,000; mother killed during bombing, $5,000; two brothers and two sons killed by hellfire missile strike, $32,000. The variation in the figures is not explained, but in no case was more than $8,000 (about £5,000), paid for the loss of a single life. (more…)

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By Jonathan Miller. Updated on 18 May 2010

Exclusive: a senior Sri Lankan army commander and frontline soldier tell Channel 4 News that point-blank executions of Tamils at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war were carried out under orders. (more…)

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Thursday, 06 May 2010 14:13 administrator
Lord Patten, currently Chancellor of Oxford University, makes a startling reference to Sri Lanka, asserting that the UN should have intervened politically and diplomatically under the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) “to protect Tamil civilians in the Sri Lankan government campaign to wipe out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam”. (more…)

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By: Malathi de Alwis
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 4 May 2010 09.00 BST

It was heartening to hear President Mahinda Rajapakse identifying reconciliation and development as the priorities of his new government. However, it is crucial that both processes should unfold with the active involvement of Sri Lanka’s citizenry, rather than being imposed from above by an omnipotent state. We seem to already have plenty of intimations of the latter. (more…)

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By David Miliband

Published: July 26 2009 19:03 | Last updated: July 26 2009 19:03

In recent weeks the debate about Afghanistan has centered on the UK military’s tactics and resources. The bravery and commitment of our forces has been remarkable, and the toll of death and injury from recent operations heavy. But the result is 80,000 to 100,000 Afghans secure from Taliban threats and violence, and able to vote in the Afghan elections on August 20. (more…)

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