During the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing on Iraq, and afterwards, anti-war campaigners with Voices for Creative Nonviolence were encouraging people around the country to go in front of hospitals with signs and banners saying, “To bomb this site would be a war crime!”
At around 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, Oct. 3, 2015, U.S./NATO forces carried out an airstrike that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Medical staff immediately phoned NATO headquarters to report the strike on its facility, and yet strikes continued on for nearly an hour. At least nine medical staff were killed and seven patients including three children. At least 35 more people were injured.
Taliban forces do not have air power, and the Afghan Air Force fleet is subordinate to the U.S., so it is patently clear that the U.S. has committed a war crime. This occurred just days prior to the 14th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, which was itself the “supreme war crime” of aggression against a nation that posed no imminent military threat. The U.S. remains culpable for all the chaos that has followed its invasion. Now, almost 6 years after Obama’s 2009 “surge,” there remain close to 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with the Pentagon talking up the need to keep those troops there.
We want to affirm the Afghans’ right to medical care and safety, and we want the aggression to end. Only Afghans themselves can engineer their own society to fit their aspirations. If the U.S. has any role to play at all, it is only to provide reconstruction funds for Afghan-led projects that can actually uplift civil institutions.
VCNV is mobilizing activists to gather in front of hospitals around the U.S. and beyond, under the message, “Dropping Bombs Here would be a War Crime!” and “The same is true in Afghanistan.” We will be protesting in Chicago on Tuesday, October 6, at 3 PM in front of Stroger Hospital (at Ogden and Damen). We are joined by our partners: Chicago World Can’t Wait, Chicago Area Peace Action, and Gay Liberation Network.