Doctors Without Borders Bombing: U.S. Changes Story Four Times in Four Days

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After relentlessly bombing a civilian hospital staffed by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF — Doctors Without Borders) in Kunduz, Northern Afghanistan, the U.S. military did the only thing truly befitting American government — it tried to get away with it.

Saturday’s initial summary involved U.S. troops taking on fire in Kunduz, but — according to officials that day — they had no idea if they’d hit the hospital or not.

After a day to fully concoct recall those events, Sunday’s military brief said the strike occurred in the “vicinity” of the hospital so, sure, maybe it was hit by accident.

Deciding that didn’t quite seem plausible exact enough, General John Campbell, commander of the U.S. and NATO [quasi]-war in Afghanistan, claimed the U.S. had never faced a threat on Saturday but were called to assist Afghan troops in the area.

And then Tuesday, the latest available only because it isn’t yet time for the Wednesday version, Campbell expounded on Monday’s version of events, adding that U.S. forces had both called in and carried out the airstrike at the behest of Afghan forces.

“Today’s statement from General Campbell is just the latest in a long list of confusing accounts from the U.S. military about what happened in Kunduz on Saturday,” said Jason Cone, U.S. Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders. “They are now back to talking about a ‘mistake.’ A mistake that lasted for more than an hour, despite the fact that the location of the hospital was well known to them and that they were informed during the airstrike that it was a hospital being hit. All this confusion just underlies once again the crucial need for an independent investigation into how a major hospital, full of patients and MSF staff, could be repeatedly bombed.”

From the beginning, MSF insisted no gunfire originated in the hospital — a claim the U.S. implied and Afghan officials expressly stated. Crucial in deducing whether the catastrophe — one that left 12 MSF staff and ten patients mortally injured — amounted to a war crime is an examination of events under the microscope of international laws of war.

As becomes quickly apparent, there are a bevy of reasons the U.S. military continues to tidy its explanation of the bombing.

According to the laws of war, direct attacks on such civilian facilities as domiciles, hospitals, places of worship, schools, etc. is prohibited, except in truly definitive cases whose general circumstances involve the military employment of said facility by opposing forces. Here, of course, MSF personnel on scene at the time refute official claims — no matter what those claims involve at any given moment.

Even in those instances, the attacking party is required to give the targeted facility fair warning it will be subject to bombardment. But advanced warning wasn’t given to the hospital in Kunduz, which by some accounts suffered bombardment for a full ninety minutes — including up to 45 minutes after the military was alerted to the ostensible targeting error.

“Any serious violation of the law of armed conflict, such as attacking a hospital that is immune from intentional attack, is a war crime. Hospitals are immune from attack during an armed conflict unless being used by one party to harm the other and then only after a warning that it will be attacked,” explained Mary Ellen O’Connell, professor of international law at Notre Dame.

MSF International President Joanne Liu concurred, saying the decision to “raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital . . . amounts to an admission of a war crime.”

Like ducks in rain, U.S. officials in recent decades have repeatedly repelled charges of war crimes — notwithstanding actual culpability. But the Kunduz hospital bombing — whatever excuse U.S. government chooses to wrap it with — could feasibly be the world’s last straw.

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19 thoughts on “Doctors Without Borders Bombing: U.S. Changes Story Four Times in Four Days”

  1. Yes. First the story was… “may have been collateral damage”.

    Then the photos came out of the hospital, and the report of the prolonged direct attack. Opps.

    Then it was “The Taliban was in there”. Now that one ought to bother you, because the idiots in the military didn’t realize that even it, it is still a war crime to fire upon a hospital. They fools admitted they committed a war crime and they were too ignorant of the G.C.s to even know that they just confessed. Do you really want generals who are that stupid and unprincipled? If he knew better, he would have told a better lie.

    If he had any principles… well, that didn’t happen. So much for Duty, Honor, Country.

    1. Have you noticed they’ve changed the phrase to “Duty, Honor, Courage”. I believe they took country out of it so the phrase can no longer enforce the idea of nationalism as being something the youth should care about…

  2. A greater mistake is made BS’ing the issue. If they f’ed-up just say it. Shit happens. Look into it, but for criz sakes, tell the gd truth!

  3. Odd isn’t it, that a Syrian hospital can be razed to the ground for MAYBE harboring ISIS but the Israeli hospitals treating ISIS wounded are entirely respected?

  4. I seriously doubt that this was an “accident”. With the military’s abilities to take out anything from miles and miles away with amazing accuracy, how could this have been a “mistake”… more government bull. No one buys this as truth…. it is a WAR CRIME and should be dealt with as such.

  5. Obviously this was a tragedy created by the US government (Obama Administration) to overshadow any other media stories mainly the fact that Russia is kicking ISIS’s butt!!!! He (Obama) is such a looser that he can not stand to have anyone upstage him and Putin is in fact on the world stage doing just that.

  6. One thing for sure, they wanted someone in that hospital dead. Multiple ordinances dropped over a period of time, is not an accident.

  7. As America is the Police of the world, they are immune to prosecution same as your local police department. They will not face prosecution.

  8. Doctors without Borders opposes TPP! This is why they were bombed AND the bombing continued for 30 minutes; to get a point across to them.

  9. Somebody of key importance was the specific, undisclosed target. When the interest in this event has expired, we might get a hint of who it was. Until then they are simply a missing person.

  10. The African tribes believed that Doctors Without Borders were bringing in Ebola with the vaccines. The CIA has hidden assets in that organization that if caught could talk.

    The military does not make that level of mistake.

  11. There is an easy way to figure all this out… Release Puff’s video of the attack. Targeting and firing locks can only be released on an AC-130 after live video has been reviewed and approved by the fire support center. The unlocks have to be released by the authority on the ground and the captain of the aircraft. I always thought these redundant safety features where a waste of time… until now.

  12. Yet shit for brains and his crew of merry dipshits won’t be facing any war crimes. Despite all the B.S. excuses, they’ll probably find some putz to toss under the wheels

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