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Greenwald: "The facially ludicrous announcement by the State Department that the Pentagon will investigate itself produced almost no domestic outrage. A religious-like belief in American exceptionalism and tribal superiority is potent indeed, and easily overrides evidence or facts. It blissfully renders the need for investigations obsolete."

Doctors Without Borders president Joanne Liu (right) is calling for an international fact-finding investigation into a U.S. airstrike on one of the charity's hospitals. (photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty)
Doctors Without Borders president Joanne Liu (right) is calling for an international fact-finding investigation into a U.S. airstrike on one of the charity's hospitals. (photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty)


Why Is the US Stonewalling the Afghan Hospital Bombing Investigation?

By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

08 October 15

 

n Geneva this morning, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demanded a formal, independent investigation into the U.S. airstrike on its hospital in Kunduz. The group’s international president, Dr. Joanne Liu (pictured above, center), specified that the inquiry should be convened pursuant to war crime-investigating procedures established by the Geneva Conventions and conducted by The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. “Even war has rules,” Liu said. “This was just not an attack on our hospital. It was an attack on the Geneva Conventions. This cannot be tolerated.”

Liu emphasized that the need for an “independent, impartial investigation is now particularly compelling given what she called “the inconsistency in the U.S. and Afghan accounts of what happened over the recent days.” On Monday, we documented the multiple conflicting accounts offered in the first three days by the U.S. military and its media allies, but the story continued to change even further after that. As The Guardian’s headline yesterday noted, the U.S. admission that its own personnel called in the airstrike — not Afghan forces as it claimed the day before — meant that “U.S. alters story for fourth time in four days.” All of this led Liu to state the obvious today: “We cannot rely on internal military investigations by the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces.”

An independent, impartial investigation into what happened here should be something everyone can immediately agree is necessary. But at its daily press briefing on Monday, the U.S. State Department, through its spokesperson Mark Toner, insisted that no such independent investigation was needed on the ground that the U.S. government is already investigating itself and everyone knows how trustworthy and reliable this process is:

QUESTION: The — so MSF is calling for an independent investigation of this incident by a neutral international body. Is that something the administration would support?

MR TONER: Well, we’ve got three investigations underway. Certainly, we’ve got our own DOD-led investigation. We obviously strongly believe that can be a very transparent and accountable investigation. Let’s let these three investigations run their course and see what the results are.

I would say — and I know the White House spoke about this earlier — we have reached out to some of the leadership in Médecins Sans Frontières to express our condolences over this tragic incident. But as to whether there needs to be an independent fourth investigation, we’re satisfied, I think, at this point that enough investigations are underway that we’ll get to the truth.

QUESTION: You don’t think that with the U.S., which is — which has an interest in how this investigation proceeds and what the outcome is, and being involved in all three investigations somehow affects the legitimacy of it?

MR TONER: I mean, frankly, I think we’ve proven over time that we can investigate incidents like these — like this, and as I said, hold anyone accountable who needs to be held accountable, and do it in such a way that’s transparent and, I think, credible.

QUESTION: Just along those lines —

MR TONER: Please.

QUESTION: — MSF has said that this is a clear presumption of a war crime that’s been committed here. Some have suggested that the ICC take it up. Is it a safe bet that the U.S. would vote against/veto any attempt in the Security Council to bring this incident for — up for an ICC investigation?

MR TONER: I don’t want to answer a hypothetical. On the war crime question itself, we’re just not there yet, and I don’t want to prejudge any outcome of any investigation.

Please, sir.

QUESTION: What do you mean, “We’re just not there yet”?

MR TONER: I mean we’re conducting investigations, we’re looking at this very closely, and we’re going to, as multiple folks have said including the president over the weekend — that we’re going to hold those accountable and it’s going to be a credible investigation.

QUESTION: Does that mean —

QUESTION: So it’s conceivable to you that this could have been a war crime?

MR TONER: I said we’re not — we’re letting the investigations run their course.

QUESTION: Well, regardless of whether or not you —

MR TONER: I’m not going to — I’m not even — yeah, please, Matt.

QUESTION: No, but I want to —

MR TONER: Sure, go ahead. Sorry.

QUESTION: Is it not — I mean, it’s always been assumed, I think — and I just want to know if this assumption is still safe — that the U.S. would oppose an attempt to refer an incident involving U.S. troops to the International Criminal Court.

MR TONER: That’s —

QUESTION: I mean, as it’s — as it was being formed, you guys ran around signing these Article 98 —

MR TONER: That’s a perfectly sound assumption.

Can anyone justify that? So predictably, American journalists have announced without even waiting for any investigation that this was all a terrible accident, nothing intentional about it. Those U.S.-defending journalists should be the angriest about their government’s refusal to allow an independent, impartial investigation since that would be the most effective path for exonerating them and proving their innocent, noble intentions.

Many Americans, and especially a large percentage of the nation’s journalists, need no investigation to know that this was nothing more than a terrible, tragic mistake. They believe that Americans, and especially their military, are so inherently good and noble and well-intentioned that none would ever knowingly damage a hospital. John McCain expressed this common American view and the primary excuse now accompanying it — stuff happens — on NPR this morning:

Quote from Sen. John McCain. (photo: The Intercept)
Quote from Sen. John McCain. (photo: The Intercept)

They’re certain of this despite how consistent MSF has been that this was a “war crime.” They’re certain of it despite how many times, and how recently, MSF notified the U.S. military of the exact GPS coordinates of this hospital. They’re certain of it even though bombing continued for 30 minutes after MSF pleaded with them to stop. They’re certain of it despite the substantial evidence that their Afghan allies long viewed this exact hospital with hostility because — true to its name and purpose — the group treated all wounded human beings, including Taliban. They’re certain of it even though Afghan officials have explicitly defended the airstrike against the hospital on the ground that Taliban were inside. They’re certain of it despite how many times the U.S. has radically changed its story about what happened as facts emerged that proved its latest claims false. They’re certain of it despite how many times the U.S. has attacked and destroyed civilian targets under extremely suspicious circumstances.

But they are not apparently so certain that they desire an independent, impartial investigation into what actually happened here. The facially ludicrous announcement by the State Department that the Pentagon will investigate itself produced almost no domestic outrage. A religious-like belief in American exceptionalism and tribal superiority is potent indeed, and easily overrides evidence or facts. It blissfully renders the need for investigations obsolete. In their minds, knowing that it was Americans who did this suffices to know what happened, at least on the level of motive: It could not possibly be the case that there was any intentionality here at all. As McCain said, it’s only the Bad People — not Americans — who do such things deliberately.

But those who already know that this was all a terrible mistake, that no U.S. personnel would ever purposely call for a strike on a hospital even if they thought there were Taliban inside, should be the ones most eager for the most credible investigation possible: namely, the one under the Geneva Conventions, which MSF this morning demanded, by the tribunal created exactly for such atrocities.

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+36 # John Puma 2015-10-08 13:14
Why did Cheney & Chimpy stonewall the 9/11 investigation?
 
 
+24 # HowardMH 2015-10-08 14:59
If every plane had a laptop, or I Pad or maybe even a Cell Phone that could DOWNLOAD all the current co-ordinates that are OFF Limits for bombing and they had to update that device before takeoff from a Command Centre that had all of this information -- then have to verify all requests for bombing or whatever BEFORE the action was taken --- THIS WOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED. This is not rocket science people, and it does prove so many of our supposed military geniuses are really not very bright.
 
 
+11 # John Puma 2015-10-09 04:03
I assure you that our flying machines of "exceptional" genocide have MUCH more than enough technology to avoid bombing hospitals.

The issue is human intent regarding the use of the sufficient technology.
 
 
+2 # A_Har 2015-10-09 10:51
Yes, and from another article posted here on RSN-- a few facts from the author of it in the comments section:

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Bombs Afghan Hospital
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/32829-nobel-peace-prize-winner-bombs-afghan-hospital

Quoting WBoardman:
Neighbor is too willing to accept the official story
(which has changed several times).

The general's testimony to Congress seemed unambiguous:
* Afghan security called for a strike on the hospital
* Americans put the request through a "rigorous process"
* Americans decided to bomb the hospital
* Americans bombe the hospital
* When Doctors Without Borders called and said,
Hey, you're bombing a hospital,
Americans kept bombing the hospital
for more than half an hour

The president has called this a "mistake" – which
makes NO sense if he means we didn't know what
we were doing (which isn't true)

It makes perfect sense if it means, gee, that got more
blowback than it was worth,
definitely a public relations mistake,
but that doesn't mean we won't do it again
if our rigorous military process
determines it's a good idea....

So, it looks like the "mistake" was no mistake at all. Now we will get the weasel words justifications and obfuscations.

Obamatons will use pretzel logic to say it wasn't that bad and Obama is not responsible for any of it. Some lower level official or military personnel with take the rap for it.
 
 
+4 # RLF 2015-10-09 06:35
It is just occuring to you after 15 years of incompetence by the military that they are not very bright?
 
 
+6 # elizabethblock 2015-10-08 14:02
No comment needed.
 
 
+27 # MidwestTom 2015-10-08 14:02
Don't forget the missing 28 pages from the 9/11 report.
 
 
-22 # MidwestTom 2015-10-08 14:05
Politicians love to expand voting rights, because they know that the added voters are probably totally detached from the activities of our government; thus giving our leaders free rein to do as they please and be answerble to no one.
 
 
+23 # dickbd 2015-10-08 15:35
The only problem with your statement is that not all politicians want to expand voting rights. We do need an informed electorate, but we'll never get it with the corporate media.

Those who are in favor of curtailing voting rights (a better term than yours, I think) are the same ones who have no problem with corporate influence and power.
 
 
+10 # lfeuille 2015-10-08 23:37
Quoting MidwestTom:
Politicians love to expand voting rights, because they know that the added voters are probably totally detached from the activities of our government; thus giving our leaders free rein to do as they please and be answerble to no one.


This is bullshit. You just made it up. There is no evidence that the disenfranchised are politically ignorant. The are disenfranchised because they know where their interests lie and vote that way, which is against the interests of the existing politically powerful in red states especially.
 
 
+37 # Dave Parsons 2015-10-08 14:08
Could this be the straw that breaks the camel's back? Or at least a very large breach in the dike of US status in the world? MSF is incredibly well respected and has very bright and determined people. I doubt this incident will just fade away.
 
 
+1 # Sweet Pea 2015-10-11 18:39
[quote name="Dave Parsons"]Could this be the straw that breaks the camel's back? Or at least a very large breach in the dike of US status in the world? MSF is incredibly well respected and has very bright and determined people. I doubt this incident will just fade away.[/quote
The wealthy people in power seem to overlook the fact that people all over the world are watching. - - especially at home, and they don't like our behavior.
 
 
0 # Archie1954 2015-10-08 14:10
McCain knows from senate investigations that the US tortures, not the so called bad people doing the torturing but Americans. Knowing that,he can also extrapolate to the US bombing a hospital without skipping a beat. Of course he was brainwashed as a prisoner of war, so who knows what he is really thinking?
 
 
+12 # jimmyjames 2015-10-08 14:46
If I had my way, I'd put that asshole McCain back in a hole in Vietnam and let him rot. He was a dick back then and a bigger dick now. If he wants to fight so bad to gain back his lost ego, let the sonofabitch put his uniform back on and send him to the front lines somewhere...
 
 
+5 # dickbd 2015-10-08 15:40
Well, he was busy bombing North Vietnam when shot down. Then, he was surprised that the populace didn't treat him with kid gloves.

I'm never in the torture camp, but there is a little perspective needed here. And is McCain any more of a hawk than Hillary? Even Bernie Sanders doesn't sound very good on foreign policy.
 
 
+27 # Wally Jasper 2015-10-08 14:19
"MR TONER: I mean, frankly, I think we’ve proven over time that we can investigate incidents like these — like this, and as I said, hold anyone accountable who needs to be held accountable, and do it in such a way that’s transparent and, I think, credible."

Hmmm, I don't remember when Mr. Clapper or Mr. Hayden have been held accountable for outright lying to the US Congress. Shouldn't they have been fired immediately? Of course, this is just another one of many examples—rememb er WMDs?—of lack of both accountability and transparency. I just don't know how these guys can get up there and say stuff like this thinking that anyone with half a memory will believe them. The journalists there should have been laughing them off the stage in shame.
 
 
+29 # Wally Jasper 2015-10-08 14:31
Anyone held accountable for the civilian deaths by drone in Yemen? Or in the attack on a journalist in Iraq that our hero whistleblower Chelsea Manning revealed? It just gets uglier and uglier as the Empire USA is seen as the naked, empty bloated bag of hot air that it is: with no morals, no conscience, no human decency. This is how an Empire crumbles. And none too soon.
 
 
+11 # intheEPZ 2015-10-08 18:35
Or the deliberate targeting of the hotel in Baghdad where many journalists were staying, the killing of at least one of them in the shelling? Not a war crime? Fairly investigated? Accountability? How can we unexceptional Americans support the efforts of MSF to finally hold our government accountable for what has been a pattern of arrogant disregard for human rights and international agreements?
 
 
+18 # HowardMH 2015-10-08 15:10
Wally, it all starts at the top. When Obama is such a coward he can not even say ONE congressman's or senator's NAME in his rant about gun control in the press room the other day, do you really think he is actually going to challenge a Generals comments? I say GO, GO, GO, Dr. Liu, nail their sorry stupid asses.
 
 
+4 # A_Har 2015-10-09 12:15
Quoting HowardMH:
Wally, it all starts at the top. When Obama is such a coward he can not even say ONE congressman's or senator's NAME in his rant about gun control in the press room the other day, do you really think he is actually going to challenge a Generals comments? I say GO, GO, GO, Dr. Liu, nail their sorry stupid asses.

Yeah....and isn't any moral outrage remarkable coming from the guy who reportedly told his staff "I am really good at killing people"??

http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-said-hes-really-good-at-killing-people-2013-11?op=1

...and who weekly draws up drone hit lists that have killed thousands including children in a rant about gun control and the criminal activities of others. It used to be that to act as judge, jury and executioner without due process *was murder.* Obummer has a lot in common with those he condemns.

How very IRONIC.
 
 
+40 # danireland46 2015-10-08 14:28
Doctors Without Borders is one of the finest, most dedicated, least self-serving organizations in the history of the world. Now they're looking for the truth about what happened to their hospital, patients and personnel in Kanduz Afghanistan. What do they get - smoke and mirrors, distortions and flat out LIES.
Beware the MIC, especially when they're on a roll (profit-wise).
American's should be ashamed of what's happening.
 
 
+15 # Blackjack 2015-10-08 14:31
Why are they doing what they do? Because they CAN. No one or no entity is obstructing their ability to do what they damn well please.
 
 
+21 # Wally Jasper 2015-10-08 14:37
That's going to change. It must change. Look at what's happening to masters of impunity, Israel? The tide is turning and people all over the world are waking up. It's happening to the US image too. The only ones who don't see it, apparently, are the military/corpor ate overlords who are stuck in their own little fantasy world of global domination. The joke will be on them. Life, good will, cooperation and justice will prevail. Ultimately.
 
 
+1 # Sweet Pea 2015-10-11 18:27
Quoting Wally Jasper:
That's going to change. It must change. Look at what's happening to masters of impunity, Israel? The tide is turning and people all over the world are waking up. It's happening to the US image too. The only ones who don't see it, apparently, are the military/corporate overlords who are stuck in their own little fantasy world of global domination. The joke will be on them. Life, good will, cooperation and justice will prevail. Ultimately.

Oh, how happy if that was true, but I think that it only a dream!
 
 
+43 # jimmyjames 2015-10-08 14:41
Who says Americans are not outraged? I am outraged! I have been so ever since the first bomb fell in Afghanistan and then Iraq. I continue to be outraged over constant killing of civilians by American and coalition forces for the past 12 years. America has become a rogue nation and needs to be stopped! I believe this even if I was to become a casualty. God knows this world would be a better place without "exceptional" Americans in charge....
 
 
+4 # janie1893 2015-10-08 15:11
Mankind deserves to become extinct!!
 
 
+1 # Sweet Pea 2015-10-11 18:30
Quoting janie1893:
Mankind deserves to become extinct!!

We must continue to hope that someday people wake up and realize that war is is not a good form of population control
 
 
+29 # jimmyjames 2015-10-08 15:12
I have to wonder how the pilot(s) and gunners feel now that they know they have intentionally murdered 22 civilians (doctors, nurses, and patients) in a hospital? It must be hard for them to sleep at night. No wonder so many vets commit suicide when they get back home....
 
 
+20 # capt400 2015-10-08 15:15
Senator McCain you are saying this bombing was an accident. Why are the State Department spokesmen saying that we have to wait for the investigation to be concluded? It sounds like you have done your thorough investigation and drawn conclusions based on that investigation. How did you do it and the State Department can't get it done? Give us the results of your investigation.
 
 
+17 # lorenbliss 2015-10-08 15:21
Three points quickly:

(1)-Remember the USian Empire's hatred and contempt for Doctors without Borders arises from the conflict between how DWB exemplifies health care as a human right and the Empire's policy decreeing, as with Obamacare, that health care should always remain a privilege of wealth;

(2)-Even without the US-DWB ideological clash, any doubt this is a deliberate atrocity -- a war crime -- is banished by the associated lies and disinformation. (Indeed this is psychological warfare at its most sophisticated level -- confusion and contradiction as a protest-crippli ng substitute for "plausible deniability.")

(3)-The "investigation, " obviously a charade, is therefore a deliberate albeit back-handed insult, the deceptively non-Nazi way the Empire, the de facto Fourth Reich, sends a tacitly Nazi "fuck you" to the civilized world.
 
 
+15 # harleysch 2015-10-08 16:30
Again, consider that MSF has been outspoken against the TPP, on the grounds that it will prevent generic (i.e., affordable) pharmaceuticals from reaching millions in poor countries.

Obama's obsessive support for the TPP, on behalf of extortion of Big Pharma, pitted him against the MSF. Surely, this should be considered, when his administration stonewalls an investigation into this war crime.
 
 
+6 # lorenbliss 2015-10-08 20:30
Thank you, harleysch. This is a detail of which I was not aware -- one that further confirms the bombing was a deliberately inflicted, Nazi-style atrocity.

I have pretty much ignored TPP because I know our capitalist overlords will ram it down our throats no matter how vehemently we protest. Thus I recognize TPP as an ultimate example of our total powerlessness in the face of the moral imbecility that now rules the world -- a powerlessness we will never muster the strength to overcome until we truly acknowledge its horrific depth.

Meanwhile I focus my primary energies on actions that can actually better people's lives, like publishing a genuinely informative newsletter or helping turn the landscaped areas of apartment complexes into vegetable gardens.

This is what the I Ching calls "the preponderance of the small -- small things may be done; great things should not be done." Given the magnitude of the Evil that confronts us -- a malevolence so powerful only Nature herself can overthrow it -- anything else is grandiosity.
 
 
+2 # James Marcus 2015-10-08 15:23
Venture a guess.
As I understand, raid was a single aircraft. Very Suspect. If true, perhaps a Renegade, whether from 'inside', or an outside 'imposter'; If So, HIGHLY EMBARRASSING!! Denial... is easier than admitting to a renegade pilot or a stolen/imitated aircraft!
 
 
+8 # lorenbliss 2015-10-08 15:38
Another variant on the "lone gunman" hypothesis? A Lee Harvey Oswald of the air? (Obviously the Puzzle Palace is working overtime.)
 
 
+15 # progressiveguy 2015-10-08 16:33
McCain knows all about bombing but if that guy in Vietnam hadn't swam out and pulled his body to shore, then he wouldn't be around to bad mouth those that question if it really was an accident. McCain couldn't find some of these Arab countries on the map but he pretends to be an expert on that area of the world. The person that gave the order to bomb the hospital made a moral mistake, those that carried out the orders did so intentionally make no mistake about it. Wouldn't it have been refreshing if someone would have said, "No sir, that's an illegal order."
 
 
+13 # since1492 2015-10-08 18:22
America has a history of bombing civilian hospitals. Bac My hospital in North Vietnam was bombed several times by US forces.
 
 
+10 # Vardoz 2015-10-08 19:57
Doctors without borders are perhaps our greatest heroes. They do what most of us don't do, risk their lives to save people in war torn nations. If Jesus was alive he would do the same. These endless wars for profit are the worst part of mankind. The Masters of War make their profits off of death and murder.

The United States is the biggest arms dealer in the world so conflict for them is big business and if good people die well it's just the price of doing business. Their is no mercy, compassion or sense of humanity. Everyone and everything is expendable for their profits. Once again the importance of humanity is placed on the back burner for profits.

Am I outraged? Very much. Do I pray that this dirty, evil business will end someday and that man will evolve into a high form of life? It would be one of our greatest achievements. Inside I am crying for a world that is drenched in blood. There is so much death and destruction. I cry because life is a gift and a treasure that means nothing when there is war. Can we as a species ever grow past this? I don't know. Right now it doesn't seem likely. Bob Dylan MASTERS OF WAR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOyWO2K9Crw
 
 
+3 # Dongi 2015-10-09 08:07
The Americans are good at bombing hospitals. Just look at out past record. (The Empire has a way of losing its temper especially with non white people Accidental Casualties: American Bombs Striking the Wrong Targets

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20151009/1028259605/america-bombs-wrong-targets.html#ixzz3o4z0xzXQ
 
 
+4 # harleysch 2015-10-09 08:13
Also good at hitting weddings with drones and bombs!
 
 
+2 # geraldom 2015-10-10 14:11
The simple answer is that it can!! There is no authority or entity in the world that has the power to hold the U.S. accountable for any of its actions, not the UN or the World Court.
 
 
+1 # Citizen Mike 2015-10-11 18:21
Why be shy? War crimes, hahaha! Torture, hahaha! International law, hahaha! Nobody can stop us, we are the New Nazis of the world!
 

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