Truthout - September 26, 2021
Three weeks after his administration launched a drone attack that killed 10 civilians in Kabul, Afghanistan, President Joe Biden addressed the United Nations General Assembly. He proudly declared, “I stand here today, for the first time in 20 years, with the United States not at war.” The day before, his administration had launched a drone strike in Syria, and three weeks earlier, the U.S. had conducted an air strike in Somalia. The commander-in-chief also apparently forgot that U.S. forces are still fighting in at least six different countries, including Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Niger. And he promised to continue bombing Afghanistan from afar.
Unfortunately Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is substantially less meaningful when analyzed in light of his administration’s pledge to mount “over-the-horizon” attacks in that country from afar even though we won’t have troops on the ground.
“Our troops are not coming home. We need to be honest about that,” Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-New Jersey) said during congressional testimony by Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this month. “They are merely moving to other bases in the same region to conduct the same counterterrorism missions, including in Afghanistan.”
As Biden pulled U.S. forces out of Afghanistan, his administration launched a hellfire missile from a U.S. drone in Kabul that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, and then lied about it. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley immediately said it was a “righteous strike” to protect U.S. troops as they withdrew.
Nearly three weeks later, however, an extensive investigation conducted by The New York Times revealed that Zemari Ahmadi was a U.S. aid worker, not an ISIS operative, and the “explosives” in the Toyota that the drone strike targeted were most likely water bottles. Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, then called the strike “a tragic mistake.”
This senseless killing of civilians was not a one-off event, although it received more publicity than most past drone strikes. Biden is following in the footsteps of his four predecessors, all of whom also conducted illegal drone strikes that killed myriad civilians. ,,,
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