After almost two months of denying their role in the Gardez Massacre, US/Nato officials have finally admitted to their involvement in the nighttime raid murder (and its attempted cover-up) of two pregnant woman, one teenage girl and two men.
In its first official statement outlining the details of the Massacre, US/Nato officials wrote ‘Joint force in Gardez makes gruesome discovery'. If it is not obvious, the goal of the statement was to insinuate that US/Nato forces stumbled upon and had no involvement in the ‘discovery'.
Jerome Starkey first broke the ice on the potential US/Nato botched cover-up in his London Times article. He called their claims ‘either willfully false or, at best, misleading'.
Their story did not match that coming from the local villagers that witnessed the raid. 12 survivors, including local officials, police chiefs and a religious leader, said the perpetrators were US and Afghan gunmen.
A Nato official said Sunday in an interview that an Afghan-led team of investigators had found signs of evidence tampering on the scene, including the removal of bullets from walls near where the women were killed, according to Oppel Jr. in his New York Times article.
Oppel Jr. also noted that the Afghan investigators found that US Special Operations forces dug bullets out of the bodies of the women to hide the true nature of their deaths.
The perpetrators also reportedly ‘washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened', according to the Times of London.
The two pregnant women had a combined total of 16 children.
These acts of terrorism are most harmful to the US's so-called mission to win the 'hearts and minds' of the Afghan civilian population. The Gardez Massacre suggests to Afghans that the US/Nato 'benevolence' to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban's barbarism is nothing more than rhetoric. Many more Afghans may now perceive the Americans and Europeans as the 'real barbarians'.
Some commentators, moreover, are arguing that McChrystal has made progress in cutting back the negative ramifications of killing innocent civilians. I agree to disagree.
While the total civilian death count may be down under McChrystal, atrocious crimes like the Gardez Massacre are likely much more harmful on the ‘hearts and minds' of Afghans than the accidental killing of one civilian because of a missile gone astray.
The US/Nato historically provides excuses for killing innocent civilians. They typically consider them ‘collateral damage' or the ‘unfortunate consequences' of liberating the Afghan people from the Taliban. Could McChrystal be so foolish as to throw himself into excuse making territory as it concerns the Gardez Massacre? How can anyone try to excuse the murder of two innocent pregnant women?