Tired of everyone criticizing your uniformed heroes for murdering journalists and other civilians from helicopters? Give 'em something else to talk about:
KABUL, Afghanistan — American troops raked a large passenger bus with gunfire near Kandahar on Monday morning, killing as many as five civilians and wounding 18 and sparking anger in a city where winning over Afghan support is considered pivotal to the war effort.Well, this time there's no WikiLeaked video in which we can see and hear The Troops yukking it up while slaughtering bus passengers, so maybe that didn't happen ... maybe. Let us suppose that these particular Troops are indeed innocent of murderous intent, and were indeed being asked for McChrystal's "a lot." Even so, there's a simple solution: quit "asking a lot," and get out of Afghanistan, like this afternoon, maybe. We're always told how smart Pres. Hopey Changey is ... can so simple a notion have escaped his steel-trap mind?
The American-led military command in Kabul called the killings a “tragic loss of life” and said troops fired not knowing the vehicle was a bus and believing that it posed a threat to a military convoy clearing roadside bombs from a highway.
The killings triggered a vitriolic anti-American demonstration, infuriated officials and appeared likely to harm public opinion on the eve of the most important offensive of the war, in which tens of thousands of American and NATO troops will try to take control of the Kandahar region, the spiritual home of the Taliban, this summer.
Hundreds of demonstrators poured into the area around a station where the damaged bus was taken on the western outskirts of Kandahar. They blocked the road with burning tires for an hour and shouted “Death to America” and “Death to infidels” while also condemning the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, according to people in the area.
[ ... ]
A military spokeswoman confirmed that a military convoy traveling westward, in front of the bus, had opened fire, but said the second convoy was traveling eastward towards the passenger bus. She also said the driver of the passenger bus was killed.
However, a survivor identified himself as the driver said the bus and said he did not violate any signal from the troops.
“I was going to take the bus off the road,” said the man, Mohammed Nabi. Then the convoy ahead opened fire from a distance of 60 to 70 yards.
“It is a huge bus full of passengers, and if they think we were a suicide bomber, we are sad that the Americans have killed innocent people,” he said. “We don’t feel safe while traveling on the main highways anymore because of NATO convoys.”
The American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, has sought to emphasize to troops how escalation of force incidents undermine Afghan support for the war. But he has also stressed that he sympathizes with troops who have to make critical decisions in an instant and is not criticizing them.
“We really ask a lot of our young service people out on checkpoints because there’s danger, they’re asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations,” General McChrystal told troops during a video conference last month.
“However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I’ve been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it.”
Mind you, I do not suggest that our gloriously multicultural Dear Leader is a dimbulb. Rather, I suggest that he's your basic moral monstrosity. Just like his predecessor. And -- barring miracles -- just like his successor.