“In war, truth is often the first casualty”. (Aeschylus)
“War is peace” (George Orwell, 1984)
“War in one form or another appeared with the first man. … The capacity of human beings to think up new ways of killing one another has proved inexhaustible, as has our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God. (Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech)
“Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problems. It merely creates new and more complicated ones.” (Dr. Martin Luther King)
So, here and now within our increasingly upside down (“war is peace“) corporate– owned, media-driven Orwellian world, we learn that one recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize has just bombed another recipient of the same Nobel Peace Prize; resulting in a disastrous number of casualties, as well as a predictable aftermath of shame, blame and confusion. So far, the basic story is that early Saturday morning on October 3, 2015, US/NATO aircraft unleashed a deadly airstrike on an essential care hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, operated by the humanitarian association, Doctors Without Borders.They are a medical charity, established in 1971 and known internationally in French as Médecins Sans Frontiers or by the acronym, MSF. This volunteer organization is widely known for its courage, compassion and its “first in, last out” approach to saving lives, and easing the suffering of people caught in acute crises; thereby restoring their ability to rebuild their lives and communities. (doctorswithoutborders.org)
This murderous attack continued, in 15 minute waves, for over an hour despite frantic calls to both pre-arranged NATO and Washington contacts, to plead for them to make it stop. These appeals were to no avail, even though MSF had long since given these “authorities” their GPS coordinates, and as a result, their attackers knew very well both the exact nature and location of their medical-surgical trauma hospital established in 2011; and the only facility of this kind for the entire province of Northeastern Afghanistan. Our officially sanctioned bombing attack succeeded in killing at least 22 people; 12 medical workers, and 10 patients, three of them children. Currently, 24 staff and 9 patients are still unaccounted for, so the death toll, euphemistically known as “collateral damage”, is likely to rise. (Dave Lindorff, thiscantbehappening.net, October 8,2015).
The first of many of the bombing waves targeted an intensive care unit where a horrified nurse reported that “patients were burning in their beds”, while another hospital worker said that he heard women and children crying out for help while the entire facility was consumed in flames and reduced to rubble. This unconscionable aerial atrocity carried out by AC-130, huge ,slow flying, fixed wing aircraft nicknamed “Angel of Death”, involved not only bombs, but rockets, as well as deadly spraying of intense fire by low altitude gunships, designed to annihilate anything within range of a target. While these aircraft are required to employ both audio and visual records of their attacks, we can only expect that this crucial forensic evidence will disappear into some designated black hole of documents; highly classified in the interest of “ national security”.
Doctors Without Borders won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 and then, newly elected U.S. President, Barack Obama, was awarded this honor in 2009 during the time when he was preparing to expand the war in Afghanistan. While one could surmise that as Commander in Chief of the Joint Armed Forces, who bombed this hospital , Obama could hold the dubious distinction of being the first recipient of the Peace Prize to bomb another recipient of the same award. However, as journalist Dan Sanchez points out, this has actually happened before. In 1973, Dr. Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which prompted humorist Tom Lehrer to quip; “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize”. Perhaps some of you may remember that as U.S. Secretary of State, Kissinger masterminded and reportedly ordered the bombing of Cambodia and Laos, during which hospitals were routinely targeted for B-52 bombing. On another occasion, Red Cross buildings were also targeted for annihilation.
Since then, the Red Cross has also been awarded three Nobel Peace Prizes. Those interested in a thoroughly documented account of Nobel Laureate Kissinger’s multiple war crimes and human rights violations, will find abundant material in the documentary film, The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002) based upon the 2001 book by Christopher Hitchens, which maintains that Kissinger should be prosecuted for war–crimes against humanity.
For those of us who study social trauma and other historical events and look for patterns that connect within apparently random, anomalous, or simply ironic phenomena, Nobel Peace recipients being involved in attacks involving war, as either victims or perpetrators, is not so surprising. Consider, if you will, that the founder of this award, ostensibly established for an “outstanding contribution to peace”, was the Swedish industrialist and inventor, Alfred Nobel (1833 –1896),who was a highly successful global armaments manufacturer. Further ironies become apparent in the identity of many recipients of this Peace Prize, other than warmongers Obama and Kissinger, there was Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzak Rabin, and Menachem Begin. (“war is peace”). Mohandas Gandhi apparently never qualified as a recipient for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Dan Sanchez, activistpost.com,October 6, 2015).
Given the world wide support and prestige of the MSF, and the horrific imagery and eye–witness accounts which soon went viral on the internet; our U.S. fact-challenged chain of command scrambled to find a way to contain the international outrage. No surprise, therefore, that their resident cabinet of spin-meisters soon came up with at least four shape–shifting and conflicting accounts of what actually happened, as well as spurious justifications for yet another war–crime against humanity.
While harsh criticism and skepticism continues to surround speculation as to the motivation for what clearly is emerging as a deliberate attack upon an MSF humanitarian facility, targeted for destruction; there remains some credible speculation that MSF has been targeted as especially vocal critics of an impending, secretive and controversial Trans-Pacific-Partnership. MSF has expressed deep concern as to the potential for increasing the cost of life saving drugs, since this “partnership” would limit access to generic pharmaceuticals and would present an immediate threat to the health of millions. This compassion–based objection placed MSF in direct conflict and opposition to the White House, (trans-national), profit-oriented TPP agenda.
At this juncture within a still unfolding narrative, we can expect online conspiracy theorists to speculate that some all powerful trans-national cabal will pressure MSF into accepting a generous “offer that they can’t refuse”, in exchange for compromise geared toward either accepting spin or silence in regard to their accusations that they have been victims of a politically motivated war crime. For the rest of us, less complicated and still concerned citizens, we might consider Medea Benjamin’s perspective which argues that this Kundoz incident offers an opportunity to reflect upon the fact that this and many other inhumane,violent, incidents are an integral part of our endless air wars; raging across an increasing number of supposedly sovereign countries, during 14 years of our U.S. “intervention” fully sanctioned by our supposedly Democratically elected (trans-national, corporate and military controlled), Congress. (Medea Benjamin, opednews. October 8, 2015).
Our “intervention” in Afghanistan now stands, unopposed, as the longest war in U.S. history, costing the precious lives and well-being of at least 2,350 of our own service personnel, in addition to the lives and health of thousands of participants from our NATO partners, as well as untold levels of trauma and heartbreak for families and other loved ones,which will likely continue on down throughout any number of subsequent generations. (epigenetics) .
To any sane person, this tragic foreign and far–flung fiasco, initially launched as a result of hysterical and Machiavellian calls for 9/11 vengeance, (based upon seriously dubious pretexts), has cost our American tax payers over a trillion tax dollars, which would have been much more wisely spent in the service of our own crumbling infra-structure and other urgently needed, socially oriented, domestic issues. At this point, I am with Glen Greenwald and his summation as to the war crime in Kundoz as follows: “The question is whether that’s something we want to continue to tolerate; that our own government is singularly exempt and permitted to commit war crimes?” (CNN, October 8, 2015)