Saturday, October 3, 2015

Doctors Without Borders, Hospitals Without Walls

A U.S. gunship bombed a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), early Saturday morning, killing at least 16 people. The Americans had been flying close air support as Afghan government troops continue their effort to re-take the city of Kunduz, which fell to the Taliban last week almost without a shot.

Muhammad Ajami, 35, tells The Daily Beast that he was talking to his 17-year-old brother Jamil on the phone at the time of the airstrike. Earlier in the evening Jamil had been injured during the fighting and admitted to the MSF clinic, the only operational hospital-type facility in the city.

“This was about 2:00 a.m.,” said Muhammad. “Jamil was telling me he wanted me to get him and take him home, there was a lot of bombing and shelling in the city. Then there was a big bang, and my brother dropped his phone. The last words I heard were ‘Move to the basement! Move to the basement! And crying and crying.”

MSF issued a statement “condemning in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.” Three MSF staff were confirmed dead and more than 30 unaccounted for after the trauma center “was hit several time during sustained bombing and was every badly damaged.”

MSF has decades of experience working in war zones and had notified “all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington,” of the precise GPS coordinates of its facilities, including the hospital, guest house, office and an outreach unit in a village northwest of Kunduz. Those coordinates had been communicated repeatedly most recently on September 29, after the Taliban took the city, according to another MSF statement.

A U.S. senior defense official told The Daily Beast in Washington that a U.S.-manned AC-130 gunship “was called in to return fire against a Taliban position that was firing on U.S. Special Forces advising Afghan Special Forces” when the attack began somewhere near the hospital.

But the official could not say how close that fighting position was to the hospital or whether the United States did indeed know the hospital coordinates beforehand. Defense officials also could not say how long the attack took place.  

Let's go over the fact that bombing a hospital is in fact a war crime, not to mention that 14 years after 9/11 we're still bombing goddamn Afghanistan.

Ya'll aren't going to want to hear this, but Obama is responsible for this mess.  We need to get out of Afghanistan fully, no more "support", no more "advisory capacity" no more Special Forces, just out.  Period.

Fourteen friggin years, guys.

And Obama, you screwed this up big time.  You need to answer for it.  Now.

Stuff And Things About Jeb

Jeb Bush really is making a total mess of this campaign, isn't he?

Jeb Bush invited a firestorm on Friday by saying that “stuff happens” in reference to renewed calls for legislative action after tragedies like the mass shooting in Oregon.

I had this challenge as governor because we had — look, stuff happens,” he said at a forum in South Carolina. “There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

The inelegant phrase immediately set off a wave of criticism from observers suggesting he was playing down the scourge of gun violence and the tragedy on Thursday, in which a gunman killed nine people at a community college in Roseburg, Ore.

Mr Bush, taking questions from the state’s attorney general, Alan Wilson, was speaking about a pattern of proposing legislative responses that he said did not halt the tragedies they were meant to stop.

Asked afterward about the “stuff happens” comment, Mr. Bush said, “it wasn’t a mistake,” and requested that a reporter point out “what I said wrong.”

“Things happen all the time,” Mr. Bush said. “Things. Is that better

There are three issue here.

First problem is the GOP notion, widely held, that there is nothing that government can do or even should do in order to prevent the mass slaughter of citizens like this.  More than 30,000 people die yearly to firearms in the US and somehow Republicans have not only counseled that the government shouldn't prevents it, but that it can't: it's the blood that waters the tree of liberty, the necessary cost of a free society where firearms "preserve" the Constitution. Indeed, 300 million firearms in the hands of American citizens is good and necessary and there's nothing that we should do in order to curtail that number. By far, this is the biggest issue and the largest debate we need to have, but cannot.

Problem number two is the fact that Jeb Bush, like most Republicans, are running for President (you know, Chief Executive of the Federal Government) in order to specifically not do anything.  Vote for me, I won't solve you problems!  Republicans of course don't think government is the answer (gun deaths, the economy, the environment) unless they do (Sharia law, women's reproductive systems, repealing health insurance).

Finally, Jeb's mealy-mouthed "What's the big deal?" reaction to this just makes him look even more like a privileged creep with all the empathy of Mitt Romney.  It's truly amazing how out of touch the guy is, and incapable of hiding problems one and two from "moderate" voters.

Anyway, add another gaffe to the pile for Jeb, who is self-destructing at the cost of hundreds of millions in donor and super-PAC dollars before our very eyes.
Related Posts with Thumbnails