By Patrick Martin
24 July 2008
A lengthy front-page article in Wednesday’s New York Times cites US military officials to make the case for wider latitude in conducting bombing raids against targets in Afghanistan. The article by reporter Thom Shanker carries a headline reflecting the complaints of the Pentagon: “Civilian Risks Curbing Strikes in Afghan War.”
According to this sympathetic account, “American and allied commanders said that even as orders for air attacks in Afghanistan had increased significantly this year, their ability to strike top insurgent leaders from the air was severely restricted by rules intended to minimize civilian casualties.”
Shanker was given unprecedented access to the secret US base that controls the air war in Afghanistan and the adjacent tribal areas of Pakistan. He describes it only as “the air operations headquarters in Southwest Asia,” adding that he was permitted to conduct interviews at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center “under a written agreement that neither the name of the base nor its location be published, in deference to the host nation’s concerns.”
It is widely known that US Air Force operations in the region are headquartered at a base in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, whose rulers wish to avoid publicity about their role in helping the US military carry out mass murder against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and prepare further atrocities against Iran.
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