Saturday, May 05, 2007

The massacres piling up in Afghanistan.

Over the last couple of weeks, there has been a rolling wave of US massacres of civilians, in the double figures. The latest report speaks of thirteen killed in a bombing raid. A few days ago it was fifty one civilians murdered in a village where the US was combatting 'Taliban' fighters. A couple of weeks ago, it was forty civilians, killed or wounded by troops who claimed to have come under fire, but hadn't. There are a couple of separate things going on here, then: on the one hand, the aspect of 'risk-transfer war' that involves bombing from a great height to ensure that the risk of death is transferred to civilians rather than US troops; on the other, the aspect of 'degenerative' war, in which population centres increasingly become a target if a) traditional military targets don't avail themselves, and b) the population appears to provide some support to the opposition. But there's a third aspect, which is the ideological matrix through which this violence is understood and wielded. Chris Floyd writes about it here.