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United States The Military

US Bombs Hit Doctors Without Borders Hospital 410

Prune writes: According to multiple news sources, U.S. airstrikes partially destroyed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan, killing at least nine staff members and at least 50 overall, including patients, and this after giving its coordinates to U.S. forces multiple times. I'm especially saddened to report this given I had become one of the supporters of this charity after recommendations from Slashdot members in a discussion about choosing charities to donate to a while back.
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US Bombs Hit Doctors Without Borders Hospital

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2015 @11:41AM (#50651347)

    not after having been made aware of their coordinates and location several times. Someone ordered this strike, believing there were "terrorists" treated at that facility, knowing very well it was a hospital and what the result would be, and giving no damn about it because they can get away with it. This is worse than all the other killings commited by U.S forces abroad, and people and governments must take a stand, or killings and murders like these will just continue.

    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @11:54AM (#50651403) Homepage

      This was not a screw-up not after having been made aware of their coordinates and location several times. Someone ordered this strike

      Right, because if there's anything that describes the US military brass, it's "relentlessly competent"?

      The US dropped 1600 bombs just in March of this year just against Daesh. If you expect 100% perfection out of tens of thousands of strikes from ~10 kilometers altitude using intelligence data gathered from tens of thousands of sources, you have a few screws loose on your beliefs of what is realistically achievable.

      • by websitebroke ( 996163 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:02PM (#50651443)

        I certainly don't expect 100% perfection when bombing anything, which is why I always call bullshit when our politicians say we'll use "smart" bombs or "surgical air strikes" when trying to justify attacking someone.

        Reference: every military action we've taken in my entire lifetime.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:21PM (#50651541)

          surgical air strikes

          I think you could have chosen a better phrase here.

        • by west ( 39918 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:22PM (#50651543)

          Indeed, the dishonesty is approving this bombing without stating UPFRONT that innocent men, women and children *will* die.

          If we are not willing to acknowledge this before the first shot is fired - absolutely accept that by approving military action, we WILL be responsible for killing innocents - then we have no business approving the action in the first place.

          Military action must only take place when the we feel the evil that comes from NOT doing the action outweighs *certainty* that we are directly killing innocents.

          Anyone not willing to take *personal* responsibility for those lives when they approved the order should be removed from office or command.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by anmre ( 2956771 )

            I agree. I would also add that if a belligerent (such as the U.S.) is not willing to sacrifice the lives of its own troops and civilians, then it has no moral justification for engaging in unilateral warfare.

            In short, what the fuck are we fighting for?

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              In short, what the fuck are we fighting for?

              Profits of corporations, protection of the first world banking system, the military industrial complex...

              You're on slashdot, you should know that...

            • by west ( 39918 )

              I would also add that if a belligerent (such as the U.S.) is not willing to sacrifice the lives of its own troops and civilians, then it has no moral justification for engaging in unilateral warfare.

              I'm going to ask why you think that.

              If we take other decisions that will kill innocents for what we consider greater goals (for example, mandatory vaccinations, which kill a handful to save millions), we don't demand that the decision makers up their personal stake.

              I certainly agree that having a stake in terms

              • by anmre ( 2956771 )

                I mean to say that there is clearly no real threat to the U.S. if:

                a) the enemy is unsophisticated enough to seek shelter among civilians

                b) it faces no domestic or international reprisals for bombing hospitals where it suspects those enemies might be (accidentally or otherwise)

                We (the U.S.) have no moral justification for being in Afghanistan. I use the word "moral" because I suspect that the only reason we are there is because of money and/or international politics. Civilians are dying in horrific ways an

        • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:25PM (#50651569)

          Keep in mind military terminology is really old. Way older then you.

          They're surgical strikes, and smart bombs, compared to ones we used in the last big war against the Nazis. Both us (against the Japanese), and the Brits (against Germany) used night bombing campaigns to avoid enemy air defenses, and had to work their tails off to make sure they hit the intended city. Avoiding specific buildings was simply not possible. Day-bombing raids (used by us against the Germans), was better [wikipedia.org], but would still have been unable to avoid leveling the hospital if used against a built-up area:

          As U.S. participation in the war started, the USAAF drew up widespread and comprehensive bombing plans based on the Norden. They believed the B-17 had a 1.2% probability of hitting a 30 metres (100 ft) target from 6,100 metres (20,000 ft), meaning that 220 bombers would be needed for a 93% probability of one or more hits. This was not considered a problem, and the AAF forecast the need for 251 combat groups to provide enough bombers to fulfill their comprehensive pre-war plans.[21] The bombsight was used for first time in March 1943.[29]

          For all it's sins, the military we've got uses significantly less brutal solutions then were possible in any previous generation. It's not their fault that Presidents much prefer airstrikes (which have large civilian casualty-numbers if they go wrong) to special forces-ops (which can turn low casualty operations [wikipedia.org] into political disasters because we really liked those 18 guys).

          In this case it doesn't seem like a US Military internal fuck-up at all. It seems like some embittered Afghan police officer sent in the coordinates of the hospital on purpose because MSF treats Taliban [slate.com] casualties. The Afghan Police concerned are still swearing up and down they were taking fire from the building.

          • The Afghan Police concerned are still swearing up and down they were taking fire from the building.

            Maybe they were... it wouldn't the first time that an enemy used a hospital or other "off limits" location to fight from.

        • Amputation is a surgery as well.

        • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @08:09PM (#50653749) Homepage Journal

          I certainly don't expect 100% perfection when bombing anything, which is why I always call bullshit when our politicians say we'll use "smart" bombs or "surgical air strikes" when trying to justify attacking someone.

          I used to feel the same, until I visited Belgrade. The Ministry of Defence building was hit by three bombs, each of which penetrated about 4 floors and then exploded. Damage to adjacent buildings (i.e. within 20-50 metres of the blast) was limited to broken windows and surface chips and abrasions. I saw another dozen or so buildings—quite pointedly left unrepaired during negotiations to enter the EU—all around downtown Belgrade that were the same.

          Likewise Slobodan Milosevic's residence in a nearby suburb, located where all the diplomatic compounds were. You pass by row upon row of pretty 18th and 19th Century houses, each on a nicely tended plot of land, then there's a gap where Milosevic's house used to be, then another house, and another.

          After this, I changed my estimation of how precision such bombing efforts could be....

          ... And then... I found out that they left all the really precision attacks to the French, because the Americans had a reputation for missing. :-)

      • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:14PM (#50651509)

        Not hitting a target is quite different from specifically hitting a target that they shouldn't. But you're right there's a lot of data to process and people make mistakes. So why was a human in the loop at all? Why isn't there a zone defined in a computer system that throws up an error when someone who's lost track of the war they are fighting punches in the wrong number?

        We should be expecting 100% and we should be striving for it, and not making excuses.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The military always resists efforts to make things safer. It's partly offence at the suggestion that they might screw up or go rogue, and partly the old "safety only stops me using weapons when I need them" argument that is often made about gun safety devices by civilians.

          Not just the US military either, of course. The British Royal Navy refused to have codes relayed from land for launching nuclear ICBMs from submarines, due to offence taken at the suggestion that their captains could not be trusted or migh

          • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:59PM (#50651777)

            The system the Royal Navy uses to come to a decision as to whether to launch or not is purely cost based - our nuclear deterrent launch authority is independent to that of the US, so we cant use their infrastructure to issue launch authority as that may be denied to us on occasion. Since replacing that infrastructure is a big and costly venture, unjustifiable for the two submarines that are on armed patrol, we use a simpler system.

            As we havent had an issue yet, I'd say its perfectly adequate...

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              We have our own submarine communication network, and the normal plan for using nuclear weapons is for us to use that communication channel along with an authentication code to tell the submarine commander to launch. In fact we had to set the arming codes on the US made missiles to 0000 or some equivalent, since we didn't want to use them.

              The stated reason for this is so that in the event that the UK is completely annihilated before the order can be given, our submarines can retaliate anyway. The real reason

              • We do not have a deep submergence communication system, only a system which requires the patrol subs to be at a given depth to be able to receive a communication at a set time during their patrol.

                Without a method to contact the subs at depth, we have no ability to authorise a launch on demand so instead we use a beacon system - if the sub doesnt detect a transmission at the predetermined time, and they also dont detect several other 24/7 transmissions, then the Captain opens a letter the PM has issued the R

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  The US doesn't have a deep ULF system either, they shut it down years ago. They, and the UK, use VLF. It doesn't seem to be an issue for the US.

        • Groups like the Taliban frequently use hospitals for attacks, as do the groups operating in the Israeli occupied territories. It's entirely possible they targeted the hospital on purpose.
          • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

            Groups like the Taliban frequently use hospitals for attacks

            That's what imperialists tell themselves when their bombs kill a bunch of innocent people. And they never play by their own rules - Israel bombs buildings all over Gaza, with the excuse that they are being used by Hamas for military purposes, yet puts their own military headquarters smack in the middle of Tel Aviv.

            • by Sun ( 104778 )

              yet puts their own military headquarters smack in the middle of Tel Aviv.

              And yet, you know exactly where it is. It is not used for civilian purposes.

              I realize you are trying to make the two sound the same, but they really are nothing alike. Placing a distinctly military base in some proximity to civilians is not the same as using some poor shmoe's house as a weapon storage, and then instructing him and his family at gun point not to leave, even when the IDF is phoning in telling them they are about to bomb

      • by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:19PM (#50651527) Journal

        1600 bombs ... tens of thousands of strikes

        Stopped reading. Bullshit detector went off. Questionable math. Lacking citation.

      • I expect them to stop engaging in pointless conflict. We should not even be in Afghanistan. You are defending absurdity with numbers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah we have to take a stand and pull out so the taliban can intentionally target hospitals.

    • by Noble713 ( 3516573 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:06PM (#50651461)
      I have some connections with amplifying information. I sent a photographer friend to Afghanistan, and he networked with some Afghani grad students I met here in Japan, especially one friend who's family is from Kunduz. Some childhood friends of my Afghani associate were doctors killed in the strike. Word is that Afghani and US Spec Ops troops are retaking Kunduz. EVERYONE knew the hospital was a hospital, it was treating a mix of Afghani security forces, Taliban, and civilians.

      As someone who used to work in close air support, I just can't wrap my mind around how such a target could get approved. Places like hospitals are the main reason we have Fire Support Control Measures such as Restrictive Fire Areas and No Fire Areas. Intel pushes sensitive areas to the aviation planners and they get included in the Airspace Control Order or SPINS (Special Instructions). Then they get plotted on all the maps so the air controllers know where to deny requests for Air Support (no you can't drop a bomb there, that's inside grid xxxx). What a cluster-F.....
      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:16PM (#50651517) Homepage

        Do we even know at this point that it was approved? I see four potential points of failure here:

        1) Information about the hospital not relayed to those in charge of making the target decision(s)
        2) Those making the target decision(s) not noticing or deliberately ignoring the information
        3) The aircrew having a different target but mistakenly or deliberately targeting the hospital
        4) The aircrew targeting a different target but the bomb going off course.

        #1 and #2 can be applied repeatedly on each stage of communication. Malice is possible in #2 and #3, and technically #1 although that would be an unlikely spot for malice. All possibilities have non-malicious routes, and it would be highly unrealistic for #4 to be malice.

        • The air force do have a history of "friendly fire" errors. They seem to have a few who lose their professionalism in the heat of battle and go rambo.
        • Well #3 and #4 are out because the hospital was bombed for an hour and a half. MSF repeatedly told everyone in the area where they were located. And even when they told the US that they were bombing MSF it took a half hour to stop. There is no excuse for this.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          Do we even know at this point that it was approved?

          Because several planes flew expensive missions and dropped expensive bombs on it at intervals - PFC Pyle can't sign off on something like that.

      • by johnnys ( 592333 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:23PM (#50651553)
        The Canadians learned the lesson at Tarnak Farm: Get the hell out of ANY country that is suffering US airforce attacks.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2015 @01:25PM (#50651937)

        Back in the 1990's, the US accidentally dropped a bomb on the Chinese embassy in Serbia. It was widely dismissed as a targetting error. Fast forward a couple of uears and I am young platoon leader. My platoon sergeant had been a general's driver during the Kosovo conflict and claimed to have been in the room when they decided to bomb the embassy. The reason was that the Chinese had purchased sensitive parts of the F-117 that the Serbs brought down andvwere storing them in the embassy untill they could get them out.

        At the time I thought the story was just bravado. Then I heard the same story from a Major who had been on staff. I personally never saw anything like this while I was in, but I was neither elite nor in any high up staff offices. However, from what I know of US infantry culture I am pretty sure that it would not take a lot for a hospital to be targetted. I also would not put it past the Taliban to use a hospital as a shield. The BBC is already reporting that there were 10-15 Taliban in the hospital. If they were using it effectively as a lynch pin or if somebody of high enough position was there, I don't doubt for a second that the US would have dropped fire on it.

        Whether something like that happened or not... I'll be dead before we know.

    • by Nyder ( 754090 )

      not after having been made aware of their coordinates and location several times. Someone ordered this strike, believing there were "terrorists" treated at that facility, knowing very well it was a hospital and what the result would be, and giving no damn about it because they can get away with it. This is worse than all the other killings commited by U.S forces abroad, and people and governments must take a stand, or killings and murders like these will just continue.

      I'm guessing they were told they did abortions at that hospital.

  • by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @11:44AM (#50651353)

    Airstrikes on population centres cause civilian casualties you say? The cost of sending in soldiers instead is too high, justifying the cost of the collateral damage you say? But not when Assad or Putin does it you say?

    ""The bombing continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed,” the organization said in a statement."

    I guess the difference is the level competence and precision.

    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:03PM (#50651451) Homepage

      But not when Assad or Putin does it you say?

      You're really telling me that you see no difference between laser guided bomb strikes that occasionally go wrong and mass-produced $200 barrel bombs rolled out of helicopters to turn cities of millions of people into this [google.is]?

      Yeah, totally the same thing.

      As for Russia's involvement in Syria, I don't think anyone is objecting to the fact that they're bombing. It's the fact that rather than bombing Daesh, they're bombing groups opposed to Daesh, in order to prop up the failing government of the aforementioned guy flattening cities with mass-produced $200 barrel bombs. As well as having sent large amounts of equipment with absolutely no bearing to Daesh (or any rebel group really), such as advanced air defense systems and air superiority fighters carrying air-to-air missiles. People's problem with Russia's actions are not that they're taking part in military activity, but what side they're taking part on behalf of.

      • It's the fact that rather than bombing Daesh, they're bombing groups opposed to Daesh

        As opposed to the USA, which is fighting ISIS (one of Assad's enemies) as well as Assad (one of ISIS' enemies). So we're on BOTH sides of a civil war in Syria.

        Note, by the by, that helping Assad against ISIS allows Assad to use more of his own troops against, say, the Kurds, who are our nominal allies in the region.

        So, we're helping Assad fight some of his enemies, while helping some of his enemies fight Assad....

        • The Obama plan is to get rid of irrational groups (like Daesh), then gather the rational ones together at some negotiating table, and negotiate a timeline for Assad to leave.
          You may say that is fantasy, but anyway, that is the US plan.
          • It is fantasy...

            Assad is scum, but at least he is semi-rational scum...

            ISIS is insane and needs to be put to bed... Assad you can ignore, ISIS you can't...

            The Russians (gasp) have it right on this one...

            • Daesh is ISIS. It's not clear from your post that you realize it.
        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Note, by the by, that helping Assad against ISIS allows Assad to use more of his own troops against, say, the Kurds, who are our nominal allies in the region.

          I might be wrong, but my impression was that Assad's strongholds were in the west/southwest and the Kurds in the north with ISIS in between so they don't really have any common border to fight on. It's the other rebel groups in Syria that are taking the piss with Assad's forces on one side and ISIS on the other. And now possibly Russian death from above, they must start to feel somebody up there hates them...

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            It's not that simple of an arrangement. The Kurds are indeed in the north, mainly the northeast. Assad's strongholds are in/around Damascus and among the Alawi populations on the coast (that is to say, west of the Alawiyin mountains), although he also controls many scattered pockets elsewhere, even ones touching Kurdish territory. The FSA and Al-Nusra control large chunks from the western Turkish border down to Idleb, just on the east side of the mountains, as well as many pockets elsewhere. As for Daesh...

        • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @01:56PM (#50652129) Homepage

          What do you mean "both sides"? There's several dozen different major militias, which really if anything fall into three "sides": Assad, Daesh (what you call ISIS), and a loose, sometimes self-sniping (but decreasingly so) alliance of kurds, secular arabs (the nominal FSA), and islamists. All three sides oppose each other.

          Russia supports Assad, the party recognized by the UN and human rights groups as responsible for the lion's share of the war deaths and over 10k tortured to death in its intelligence centers. However, it's doing this not by opposing the opposition uniformly, but by heavily focusing on non-Daesh entities. If successful, this would leave a conflict between Assad and Daesh, wherein the west would basically be forced to accept Assad. Iran and Hezbollah are Russia's copatriots in this.

          The US and the Gulf states support the non-Daesh forces. The US strongly supports the FSA, would support the Kurds if not for how it would cost them Turkey's support, and is willing to overlook the islamists so long as they continue along their path of denouncing anti-western activity. The Gulf states by contrast have largely been supporting the Islamist militias - Saudi Arabia in particular focusing on Ahrar ash-Sham, while Qatar seems to be in bed with al-Nusra.

          Israel wants Assad and Daesh gone, and seems content at sniping at either of them within the Golan Heights, but doesn't seem to want to take a larger, riskier role.

          The strategies used by the US and the Gulf states are similar in regards to Daesh: A continuous but restrained bombing campaign. Both the US and the Gulf states take part in this. The arming strategies have somewhat differed, however, and not simply in regards to what groups are the beneficiaries. The US has been very hesitant to deploy weapons to Syria, waiting three years starting and not giving anything heavier than a TOW. The strongest focus has been on coordinating small numbers of FSA members to operate as effective US ground spotters against Daesh. It's not gone very well. Providing intelligence has proven more useful, and the weaponry, although limited, has allowed for more effective operations in certain fronts, such as Idlib. The Gulf states however have focused more on money and arms to their groups, and started it early. The early successes of the islamist militias while the FSA was flailing led to many waves of desertion, turning it from the largest opposition group to at its lowpoint nearly a running joke.

          Turkey has proven willing to support taking on Daesh although uses the opportunity to snipe at the Kurds. Turkey's policy of chasing back Syrian planes who even approach their border has created an effective narrow no-fly zone in Syria's north, which militias on the ground have taken advantage of. With Russia's involvement now, however, it's questionable whether Syria will be able to continue that policy, out of fear of hitting Russian jets.

          Everyone has their own endgames in mind.

          In Russia's and Iran's, the conflict turns into "Assad vs. Daesh", the west reluctantly agrees to accept Assad, wipes out Daesh, and their only Mediterranean ally remains in power. They know he'll probably undertake some serious purges over the next several years while trying to wipe out any vestiges of opposition remaining. Their media will happily not report it.

          In the US's and Israel's preferred scenarios, the secular/kurdish/islamist coalition wipes out both Assad and Daesh, with their help on the latter. Each ends up with regions under their control. The goal would be a Lebanon-style power sharing agreement. A more realistic expectation would be a Libya-style post-dictator power vacuum with random sniping militias. Those who support this view that as a vastly better improvement than the current situation or an Assad re-conquest.

          In the Gulf states view, they really could care less whether the post-Assad, post-Daesh environment would be a Lebanon-style arrangement or simply another dictator, this time not allied with Iran against them. They'd be quite

          • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @04:42PM (#50652885) Journal

            This is the most complete and factual analysis I have seen on Slashdot so far. What concerns me and would stop me from embracing the strategy we have chosen were I sitting in the oval office is, that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" does not hold up after the original enemy is gone.

            Al Qaeda and its offshoots and subgroups in particular are propaganda machines. When Daesh is defeated if it ever is, we will again be the Great Satin and just like before I suspect we find ourselves faced with the training and likely weapons we have provided turned on us. Its how these leaders hold on to power. Personally I think out best bet would be to just disengage form the middle east. let Southern Europe, Russia, China, Israel and the more stable elements in North Africa contain it if they can. While politically sacrificing Iraq and Afghanistan at this point is a tough pill to swallow, in the most mercenary sense the potential payback from stabilizing those places in no way approaches the costs.

            Daesh could be very useful to us in that if we left it unchecked it will likely put a great deal of strain on Iran, Russia, and eventually China will be drawn in. These are our economic rivals, its hard to imagine we don't gain from them being in a multi-trillion dollar quagmire we have been stuck in for fifteen years now. A few decades of not seeing American's dropping bombs over there might cause a refocus of some of the extra-regional terrorism objectives as well.

            Personally I think our best move is to pack up and go home. No foreign aide to the region. State department imposed travel bans for Americans. Lets just watch from the satellites and see how it pans out.

      • They are taking part on the side which hasn't caused the Libyan clusterfuck.

        In one action the US destroyed a large part of this hospital and hopefully they did more damage to their real targets. Repeat that every day for a couple of months and a city is mostly destroyed. A barrel bomb, dropped from a relatively low attitude has pretty good precision. It's a lot cheaper than laser/gps guided munitions dropped from high altitude, but they are both still bombs. Neither are very discriminate. The amount of mone

    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:08PM (#50651481) Homepage

      Oh, and to correct:

      ""The bombing continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed,” the organization said in a statement."

      No, they actually said [doctorswit...orders.org]:

      The bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed

      The deletion of "in Kunduz" was clearly done to make it sound like the US kept hitting the hospital again and again; there is no other reason someone would have removed that from the sentence.

      • Yeah, if we were bombing the hospital for 30 minutes then there would have been a LOT more casualties, but we gotta push that agenda.
    • Dude, 30 minutes is a half-hour. This is not a 5-man start-up where everybody has the authority to do everything. It is not the Starship Enterprise where you can get someone in responsibility simply by hailing the bridge. It is a 308k-airmen bureaucracy.

      The guys doing the bombing are in an Air Force Squadron that reports to a Lieutenant Colonel. I doubt MSF has his number, the number of the full Colonel who commands the Wing, etc. Even if they had that number how'd they know that particular colonel was the

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        So what you're saying is that during a war there is NO "Holy shit you're bombing friendlies!" protocol?

        • There is a Holy Shit you're bombing friendlies protocol. But the MSF is not a friendly. It's a neutral. That's kinda the entire point, and the most likely explanation is actually that some Afghan Cop got pissed at them for being too neutral and asked for the strike out of revenge for them treating the Taliban [slate.com].

          As a non-friendly, MSF does not have a guy in the theater chain-of-coimmand, with has a hotline to the guy who knows exactly which squadron to call to scrub the exact bombing raid going on in Kunduz pr

  • Well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2015 @11:44AM (#50651355)

    Bombs without borders got the date and time mixed up and there was a scheduling conflict.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      I'm confused, I thought the US was proud of its ability to make "surgical strikes".

      • I've been rolling my eyes at "surgical strikes" for as long as I can remember.
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

        by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:43PM (#50651673)

        It is.

        And they do precisely what they say they'll do. They blow up the exact building the airmen intended to blow up.

        The problem in this case is the Afghan police told the Air Force they were taking fire from the MSF hospital [slate.com], and they needed it to be leveled. Since the Taliban controlled the entire fucking city, including the hospital, a whole yesterday, the Air Force didn't bother to check the pre-Taliban-list of targets you shouldn't level in Kunduz.

        The Afghan Police are still swearing up and down they were being attacked from the hospital, MSF speculates this whole fiasco is revenge for MSF's "treat anyone, even Taliban" policy, and I doubt the US Government will make a determination over whether the raid was justified until they can prove conclusively whether the Afghan Police are making shit up. Which will be somewhat difficult, given that said police specifically asked for most of the evidence to be destroyed.

  • In other news (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:01PM (#50651435)

    Arresting people occasionally puts innocents in jail.

    It's impossible to completely avoid civilian casualties in war unless you conduct absolutely no military operations whatsoever. The subtext of this is, of course, that the US should have avoided this, but how? Never go to war? That's obviously impractical.

    Okay, so how about only going to war when you have a really good reason? If that's your plan, and you do approve of war as long as there is a really good reason, then (since some civilian casualties are inevitable) you've just said that you're okay with civilian casualties as long as the war is for a really good reason. Needless to say, you never see anti-war people saying this.

    Being more careful in war? Well, you can be more careful, but nobody's perfect; there will always be *some* civilian casualties. So you're not really objecting to civilian casualties; you just think there are too many, but fewer but still some is okay. I've never seen anti-war people saying that either.

    So what exactly should be done, other than never going to war, ever?

    • Leaving aside "never going to war ever", it would be easy for the US to quit killing people in Afghanistan, especially since bin Laden and Mullah Oman have been dead for years. It's a pretty safe bet that none of the people we're fighting had anything to do with 9/11. Just leave.

      • Which worked so well in Iraq, I mean it's not like an international terrorist organization came out of our leaving there right?
    • So what exactly should be done, other than never going to war, ever?

      Not get/stay involved in a war when there's no direct threat to your own country? Like a poster above said, US should just leave and let Afghanistan sort out its own problems.

      Sure, humanitarian reasons may be a valid reason to have troops in some other country. But is that the reason US troops are there?

      • And then ISIS/Al Qaeda roll in and resume plotting terrorist attacks against us.
      • The US is there because we started the current problem in Afghanistan after ousting the old leadership (Taliban) who was protecting terrorist (Al Qaeda) who actually did plan and commit acts of terror on US soil as well as soil of US allies.

        To say we have no reason to be there is idiotic and ignorant of history. If you are old enough to post an opinion of your own about this on slashdot, you are likely old enough to have lived through that BS and the progression to date. Perhaps you were too young to care a

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spire3661 ( 1038968 )
      Fuck you. Comparing deaths with temporary incarceration is bullshit. Its not a great tragedy to be arrested and exonerated in comparison to being killed. Our wars should be DEFENSIVE, we simply should not be operating on that side of the fucking planet. You are arguments are tired and have no substance.
    • There isn't much we could have done.

      The Afghan police requested the airstrike. Everyone (including me) assumes they were lying [slate.com] because MSF has a very good reputation, but if the Taliban take a city, and an allied paramilitary unit says that retaking it requires blowing up a building that was used as a hospital before the invasion, because guys on top of it are killing them, you're not gonna subject them to the fifth degree before you do it.

      A half-hour is lightning-fast in terms of stopping it when it turned

  • We were aiming at the Chinese embassy.

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:15PM (#50651515)

    Gods. Doctors Without Borders is one of the best charities on the planet, and gives hope that humans can actually be civilized.

  • by no-body ( 127863 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @12:26PM (#50651581)

    It's just another case of people in one country trying to make friends with people in another country on the other side of the planet - going very well as it seems.

  • It Wasn't A Bombing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Toad-san ( 64810 ) on Saturday October 03, 2015 @04:08PM (#50652729)

    If the Washington Post's article's details are correct, this was NOT a bombing gone awry. It was artillery rounds (and possibly 40mm cannon fire) from an AC-130 Spectre, a gunship that's been in use since the Vietnam era. They're usually pinpoint accurate, every round is fired with an eyeball targetting via low-vision video, and there'll be full video tape of the entire action.

    Doesn't make it any nicer, doesn't make it any less of a screw-up (in fact, more so). Lots of videos online of Spectre working out in Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

    The hospital should consider itself lucky: those hits were probably only 105mm howitzer rounds. If they'd been multiple thousand pounders, the catastrophe and casualties would've been even greater.

    Of course if the Post is wrong and this was NOT an AC-130 .. never mind.

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