Following last weekend's horrific killing of 22 innocent civilians in an Afghanistan hospital, of whom a majority were physicians belonging to the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) group, at first first the Pentagon denied responsibility for the attack calling the dead "collateral damage" and accusing the Taliban of fighting from the hospital; then after the global media refused to quickly turn the other way, the US blamed Afghans for calling in the strike while a desperate for distractions Pentagon was raging about "civilian casualties" in Syria at the hands of Russian warplanes; then, when this too gambit failed and when the MSF screamed bloody murder, literally, and accused Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama of engaging in a war crime, the US finally admitted it did it.
And while Obama did apologize to the MSF, and demanded a deeper investigation to "get to the bottom of things" like any alleged peace prize holding war criminal, it is what he did yesterday that showed just how alleged "war criminals" treat collateral damage aka human casualties: as goods whose ultimate value can be expressed in dollar (or rather loans, since as we noted the US has 3.5x more debt than it has GDP).
According to the WSJ, the Pentagon is offering "condolence payments" to the civilians injured and the families of those killed by a U.S. airstrike that destroyed a hospital near Kunduz, Afghanistan. Because, the thinking probably goes, human lives are like any other commodity and can be measured in reserve notes. However, what is more disturbing is that since the US prints the world's reserve currency, should Obama proceed to exterminate countless other "collaterally damaged" civilians, all that the US will need to do is print a few more million to wash its - and that of the "free and democratic world" - conscience, and all shall be well in all future cases.
We say "millions" loosely: in reality we don't know what the agreed upon payment will be - if any - because the Pentagon didn’t say how much it would pay: it could well be much less. We do wonder, however, just what the actuarial calculation involved is when the US determines the value of a human life, both in Afghanistan and elsewhere, because surely to the Pentagon one Afghanistani life has a vastly different value than the life of civilians in other nations.
Perhaps the Obama administration should disclose the assumptions used in its death-for-pay.xls model?
Less controversial was the Pentagon's announcement on said Saturday that it would also provide funds for repairing the hospital, which has been abandoned, as well as the payments. It is unclear just why it would do this: it is not as if anyone will work in a hospital that the US has declared a bomb zone and which can explode at any given moment for no reason at all aside from some AC-130 gunnery sergeant got an order to shoot it and so he did.
The WSJ adds that the compensation will be handled through the existing Commanders’ Emergency Response Program in Afghanistan, and if necessary additional authority will be sought from Congress, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement issued Saturday.
“The Department of Defense believes it is important to address the consequences of the tragic incident that the Doctors Without Borders hospital,” Mr. Cook said.
By which he now know he meant to spend "blood money" to silence the families of the dead.
Elsewhere, Doctors Without Borders has called for an independent probe of the incident by the Swiss-based International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, which is made up of diplomats, legal experts, doctors and some former military officials from nine European countries, including Britain and Russia. It was created after the Gulf War in 1991 and has never deployed a fact-finding mission.
It was unclear just how much the Pentagon would have to spend here to, mostly in the form of bribes, to assure the found "facts" are in line with a narrative that is least damaging to the US war machine.