In the aftermath of Saturday’s tragic and unprecedented bombing of an Afghanistan hospital by the US air force, one which killed 22 and continued for 30 minutes after mission command has been allegedly notified of the “error” which the US initially claimed was “collateral damage”, the Doctors without Borders physician group in charge of operating the hospital has come out swinging and has equated the US bombing of a hospital to engaging in nothing short of a war crime.
According to AFP, “pressure mounted on Washington Monday to come clean over the apparent US airstrike on an Afghan hospital that killed 22, an incident the Pentagon chief said was “confused and complicated” but which medical charity MSF branded a war crime.”
MSF general director Christopher Stokes, however, had no intention of waiting:
“Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body.”
Stokes also hit out at claims by Afghan officials that insurgents were using the hospital as a position to target Afghan forces and civilians.
“These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present,” he said.
“This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimise the attack as ‘collateral damage’.”
Others joined in: UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has also called for a full and transparent probe, noting: “An air strike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”
To be sure, the US which has done everything in its power in the past week to divert attention to Russian bombardment in Syria as attacks on Syrian “civilians” and “moderate rebels”, had a canned response: Defense Secretary Ashton Carter expressed sadness over the “tragic loss of life” but warned that the investigation will not be swift.
“The situation there is confused and complicated so it may take some time to get the facts, but we will get the facts, but we will be full and transparent about sharing them,” he told reporters on a flight to Madrid at the start of a European tour.
Then, moments ago after the US government did in fact admit, again, it was at fault, the DwB once again lashes out at the US government with the following statement:
“Today the US government has admitted that it was their airstrike that hit our hospital in Kunduz and killed 22 patients and MSF staff. Their description of the attack keeps changing—from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government. The reality is the US dropped those bombs. The US hit a huge hospital full of wounded patients and MSF staff. The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition. There can be no justification for this horrible attack. With such constant discrepancies in the US and Afghan accounts of what happened, the need for a full transparent independent investigation is ever more critical.”
So what is the US response? Why desperately attempt to pivot once again to Russian “war crimes”
- NATO URGES RUSSIA TO STOP HARMING CIVILIANS, SYRIAN OPPOSITION
And the biggest US strategic asset in the region, of course: ISIS.
More importantly, we fail to find any historical precedent for a Nobel Peace Prize winner having been accused of engaging in war crimes just several short years later.