Call it a Massacre

by Yifat Susskind

 On May 6, as many as 150 people were killed by US warplanes while they were huddled in their
houses in Farah, Afghanistan.
 
A day later, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with President Obama, US officials in Afghanistan headed to the site of the latest US massacre.
 
That's not a word we often use to describe the mass killing of civilians by US forces. Instead, reports of Afghan civilian casualties are followed by a now-routine pattern of official denials, self-investigations and apologies.
 
The killings of May 6 are now in the self-investigation phase, in case you're wondering. The denial phase was short because villagers who survived the attack trucked about 30 mangled corpses of children, women and other non-combatants to their local governor's office in order to prove that civilians had been killed.
Soon enough we'll be hearing the official "regrets." I don't want to hear them. I'm sick of the twisted logic that allows the US military to drop bombs on people and then claim it was a mistake when the bombs land on people. You don't deliberately do something with a known outcome and then get to call the result a mistake.
 
A massacre is a large-scale, indiscriminate killing; which is precisely the known outcome of the US air strikes in Afghanistan. So let's call this a massacre. And let's work to end the air strikes before another Afghan family has to hear how sorry the US military is.

Yifat Susskind is MADRE's Policy and Communications Director