An American airstrike recently hit another wedding party in Afghanistan with dozens of casualties.
The U.S. military said today it was investigating a report that an American airstrike hit a wedding party, killing dozens of civilians and prompting new pleas from President Hamid Karzai that foreign forces try harder to avoid hurting and killing noncombatants.
I have lost count how many wedding parties we have destroyed in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a large number. Having fighter patrols scouring the ground for armed insurgents to kill doesn’t mix with a region where every wedding ends with half the male guests firing in the air to celebrate. Our policy of fighting an insurgency with airpower makes tragic accidents like this inevitable, which is why fighting insurgents from the air is and has always been a stupid policy.
We do it because we lack the forces to patrol the old fashioned way. Granted that boot leather harly worked for the Soviet empire or the British one before that; fighting guerillas is a losing prospect any way you try it. However, the few times it has worked (e.g., Philipines) the strategy more resembled Jack Petraeus than Jack D. Ripper of the Strategic Air Command. We do it because the president wants a body count but he doesn’t want the political cost of American casualties, but by fighting guerillas from the air we accomplish little but to increase the number of Afghans who have had a relative killed by American carelessness.
A deadly attack on a U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan in July was executed with the support of some local police and government leaders, as well as villagers, according to an internal U.S. military report.
Story B is the reason why I oppose the policy behind story A.