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Friday, December 12, 2008


Afghanistan: the truth, but not the whole truth

In 2001, a massacre was carried out in Afghanistan, in which militiamen loyal to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Afghan warlord and a key U.S. ally in ousting the Taliban regime, killed somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 Taliban (and alleged Taliban) prisoners. Today, McClatchy's Tom Lasseter breaks the important story that Dostum has recently returned with bulldozers and trucks to dig up the mass graves from that massacre, removing the bodies to hide the evidence (and presumably to make war crimes prosecutions more difficult), with the silence, if not the complicity, of NATO, the UN, and the United States.

Unfortunately, Lasseter's account completely omits the more important complicity - the complicity of the United States in the massacre itself (over and above its implicit complicity by having invaded Afghanistan and started the war in the first place, of course). As established by 2003 by Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran in his film "Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death," U.S. Special Forces helped direct the operation of the massacre, and stood by as the Afghan militiamen slaughtered the Taliban prisoners (you can watch the film here). Others higher up in the U.S. military and government have played their part since then, by covering up both the massacre itself and the U.S. involvement with it. The corporate media have played their part by refusing to broadcast or discuss Doran's film.

It's true that this complicity hasn't been established in a court of law. That's not accidental of course - one of the people researching the film was almost beaten to death when he tried to obtain video evidence of US Special Forces’ complicity. But nevertheless, the evidence is strong and public, and proper reporting of the whole truth would have noted the existence of "serious allegations" of U.S. complicity.

The truth is good, but the whole truth is always better.

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