US Should Apologize Not Only for Kunduz But for Her Faulty Foreign Policies
By Ishaal Zehra
The US military has offered a series of shifting explanations for the bombing raid, from initially talking about “collateral damage” to now admitting, as Obama did in his call to MSF chef Joanne Liu that the strike was a mistake.
The US President Barack Obama has called the president of Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on October 7th to apologize for the bombing of an MSF hospital in northern Afghan city of Kunduz that left 22 people dead. Reportedly, 12 MSF staffers and 10 patients, including three children were killed in the incident while several victims were burned alive in their beds. Obama also expressed his condolences for the killed and injured staff and patients who were there when the US military air strike “mistakenly” struck its field hospital. Nearly five days after the incident, an apology came by the US government for what the White House described as a “terrible, tragic accident”.
The medical charity, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), replied back that an apology from Barack Obama is not enough and reiterated its call for “an independent investigation” after the apology was made to the charity’s president Joanne Liu. Earlier MSF had said the air strike on the hospital constituted a war crime, and demanded an independent investigation into the attack.
Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said the US had been transparent and forthright in the aftermath of the air strike. Interestingly, Mr Earnest while making the statement confidently said something which is worth mentioning. He said, “The United States, when we make a mistake, we’re honest about it, we own up to it, we apologise where necessary, as the president did in this case and we implement the kinds of changes that make it less likely that those kinds of mistakes will occur in the future,”.
Honest… own up… apologize… sounds quite unfamiliar with “the” United States of America. Now when they are being honest and owning up the blunders made by them, we should help and list out the events for their ease of apologizing.
Let’s not go too deep in the history of World War II, or the using of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which killed at least 129,000 people. The atomic bombs were further preceded by a U.S. firebombing campaign that obliterated many Japanese cities. Though the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan marked the end of World War II besides turning the United States and Soviet Union into superpowers, many historians argue that it also ignited the Cold War.
The legacy of error continued even after witnessing the devastating results of WWII. The Vietnam War (1955 – 1975) was the next blunder. Unfortunately, U.S. foreign policy decision makers in the mid-1960s committed a supreme act of misjudgment by intervening directly in the Vietnam War. Among other things, US intervention violated an established strategic injunction against committing U.S. military power to a large-scale land war on the mainland of Asia. Jeffrey Record writes in The Wrong War – Why We Lost in Vietnam, “Since World War II, U.S. military leaders, including Omar Bradley, Douglas MacArthur, and Matthew Ridgway, had cautioned against ground combat involvement in wars on the Asian mainland, where, it was felt, U.S. naval and air power’s effectiveness would be diluted, and where Asian foes could exploit their great superiority in manpower and bog the United States down in a protracted conflict.” But who listens…???
Next in line was the Soviet–Afghan War (1979 – 1989) which lasted over nine years.
(To be concluded)