Kabul drone attack exposes human rights stain that US cannot whitewash
Published: Sep 18, 2021 09:55 PM
A view of the damage at an Afghan family house after a drone strike one day before the final US evacuation flights from Kabul on September 11, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: AFP

A view of the damage at an Afghan family house after a drone strike one day before the final US evacuation flights from Kabul on September 11, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: AFP

The war in Afghanistan launched by the US has been a real tragedy. The Pentagon's latest statement confirms this.

The Pentagon admitted on Friday that a US drone attack launched on August 29 in Kabul, Afghanistan killed as many as 10 Afghan civilians including up to seven children. "This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake," said US Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of the US Central Command. 

The Pentagon originally said the strike killed two ISIS-K fighters believed to be involved in planning attacks against US forces in Kabul. And Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, later called the strike "righteous."

Nonetheless, just as the New York Times put it, "Almost everything senior defense officials asserted in the hours, and then days, and then weeks after the August 29 drone strike turned out to be false." However, the heinous war crimes committed by US and NATO troops in Afghanistan are of no doubt.

In the name of the so-called war on terror, the US has done too many things that should not have been done at the expense of the lives of ordinary people. The US military would rather kill by mistake than spare a single potential enemy. The drone strike before the complete withdrawal of US troops was just the tip of the iceberg. From this perspective, the withdrawal of Americans is a blessing to the Afghan people, otherwise, it is unthinkable how many more innocent Afghan civilians will be slaughtered by the "evil blade" of Washington. Bad deeds can hardly earn one sincere support, and this is why the US is bound to face a real debacle. 

There is no way for the US to repay the bloody debt it owes to the Afghan people. As a matter of fact, the US has no intention to atone for its sins. The reason why the Pentagon admitted to the mistakes is because it cannot conceal the truth anymore just like paper can never wrap up fire. So it has to make a confession, unwillingly. 

But the US doesn't regard itself as having done anything wrong, in the way like Milley called the strike "righteous." This is political correctness in the eyes of many Americans, and so-called justice for quite a number of US politicians and military officials. These people are completely the creators of humanitarian tragedies. 

"As the combatant commander, I am fully responsible for this strike and its tragic outcome," McKenzie said. But what's the point of such accountability? The commander for Afghanistan operations has already left his post. Even if the commander of the US Central Command is to be held accountable, the Afghan lives that have been wasted won't come back. If the US really aims to hold someone accountable, former US president George W Bush should be the one, as well as the presidents that have gone through the Afghan war. 

However, can Washington do that? Is it possible? No, it's unrealistic. The war in Afghanistan was launched illegally in the name of counter-terrorism but it was essentially a geopolitical game to realize US interests at the expense of too many innocent lives.

People can clearly see that the human rights the US have been preaching are really lies and act as an excuse for Washington's misconduct. The US is the country that least respects human rights - it has classified people into different classes and values only the human rights of white people, which is also known as white supremacy. As for other countries, and even Americans with other skin colors, Washington won't hesitate to wantonly trample upon and violate their human rights. This is the US' hypocrisy.

Hence, people must keep in mind that the US doesn't represent justice. It cares only about its own interests. So if the world sees the US as the standard for human rights, humanity will surely face a tragic future. As a Chinese saying goes, "The Gods are observing what we do." All the misdeeds of the US will eventually be punished. Real justice may be late but will never be absent. 

The author is a Chinese military expert and TV commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn