2008/09/13

Pro-life beliefs

Tom Englehardt examines the massacre at Azizabad, Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai cites the work of

Ahmad Nader Nadery, commissioner of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, similarly reported that one of the group's researchers had "found that 88 people had been killed, including 20 women." The U.N. mission in Afghanistan then dispatched its own investigative team from Herat to interview survivors. Its investigation "found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men." (The 60 children were reportedly "3 months old to 16 years old, all killed as they slept.")

The American military strongly disagreed, at first citing a casualty count of

...exactly 30 Taliban "militants"... ("Insurgents engaged the soldiers from multiple points within the compound using small-arms and RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] fire. The joint forces responded with small-arms fire and an air strike killing 30 militants.")

Later, the American military was pushed into agreeing that yes, indeed, some civilians did indeed perish. The story contains a very chilling description of the way that American forces view real-time information and air power:

That night, a combined party of U.S. Special Forces and Afghan army troops attacked the village. They claimed they were "ambushed" and came under "intense fire." What we know is that they called in repeated air strikes.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Conway explained:

"You know, air power is the premiere asymmetric advantage that we hold over both the Taliban and, for that matter, the al Qaeda in Iraq… And when we find that you're up against hardened people in a hardened type of compound, before we throw our Marines or soldiers against that, we're going to take advantage of our asymmetric advantage… You don't always know what's in that compound, unfortunately. And sometimes we think there's been overt efforts on the part of the Taliban, in particular, to surround themselves with civilians so as to, at a minimum, reap an IO [information operations] advantage if civilians are killed."

It's just very difficult to believe that the Special Forces really had on-the-ground, real-time, close-up human observers to inform the aircraft that their target was a memorial service. Tactical, close-in air support is of course, vitally important and needed if US troops are to win engagements. But it's really not clear that there was any "hardened compound" involved or that there even was any return fire. The NY Times piece cited in the story refers to "eight bomb-damaged houses," but the only mention of any "compound" is:

In the compound next to his, he said, four entire families, including those of his two brothers, were killed.

In other words, not a "hardened" compound at all, certainly nothing resembling a military bunker. There's no talk in the piece about captured weapons. And as to the "fire" reportedly received from the village:

The villagers and the relatives of some of the people killed in the raid insisted that none of them were Taliban and that there were no Taliban present in the village.

and

The villagers say they oppose the Taliban and would not let them in the village.

The real question is then, were the Special Forces anywhere near the village to begin with? Were they observing from a distance, through scopes, or were they even that close? Did they simply hear or did their devices detect a large gathering? This is an inherent problem with airpower and guerrilla wars. Airpower is necessarily a very blunt and clumsy instrument to use against an enemy that slips around barely detectable, mostly unobserved and in the shadows. As stated earlier, close-up air support is vitally important while conducting tactical operations, but planes flying around and bombing targets without any human observers on the ground to confirm that the planes are indeed striking legitimate military targets do counterinsurgency forces far more harm than good.

Problem is, how on Earth can we reconcile military tactics that President Bush has approved with his allegedly "pro-life" stance? In his desire to be seen as a defender of the sanctity of life, he insisted back in 2001 that stem cells could used for medical research, but only under very strict conditions. He also made it clear during the 2000 campaign that he really didn't like abortions and wanted to reduce their incidence. He also favored, in July 2008, a sort-of conscience clause for hospitals that would allow employees to refuse to provide contraceptive services.

Can a human being really be that "Ahh, who gives a $%#@!" when it comes to casualties from an air strike, yet tenderly concerned and solicitous when it comes to decisions involving the unborn? It's not like the Afghan villagers of Azizabad were guilty of anything. Killing them was like killing the drivers and passengers in other cars when one is driving drunk. They were simply slaughtered at a distance. Their "guilt" was not an issue at all as there is no apparent evidence they were even in the vicinity of a legitimate military target.

As Christy Hardin Smith of FDL makes clear, women must have control over their bodies and their reproductive functions if they're to be full human beings and citizens.

Why tell you something so personal? Especially when it is no one's business but ours?

Because it is no one's business but ours how we made the decision, what medical issues were at stake, and what choices we made together. Which is the point of choice. No one but the people involved in the individual circumstances can truly know why the decision is made -- to terminate, to keep, to risk. [emphasis in original]

As Bush himself says about the Bristol Palin pregnancy:

President Bush "believes that this is a private family matter," says White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. The talking points circulated at the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn., are in remarkable concurrence: "This is a very personal matter for the family," a suggested script distributed to delegates and leaked to the press says.

Well...exactly! That's precisely what pro-choicers have been saying all these many years! How a woman, how a family, deals with a problem pregnancy or with an unwanted pregnancy is their business and should be their choice.

Anti-abortion activists promote a policy of official meddling — yes, by government bureaucrats — into the private lives of millions of American women, and the lives of their husbands and boyfriends.

"Pro-lifers" are nothing of the kind. They're people who want to deny choice and to force people to do things that people really don't want to do.

3 comments:

Jen said...

I saw a man holding a sign stating the number 4,146. He was protesting the war. Back when I saw him, that was the number of men and women we have tragically lost.

But the number kept playing in my head and I couldn't help from thinking:

4,146... we blow through that every single day in America.

I have close friends in Iraq right now, each and every casualty, on either side, is upsetting.

While, each of those 4,146+ men and women were priceless... they each joined to fight for our country knowing that going to war could be possible. (And they are heros and I honor them for their service and self-less sacrifice.)

I do not like war. Yet, I still can not vote for Obama.

The only reason? His support of abortion. Incase you don't understand why I am a single issue voter, I'd like to share my experience with you... I haven't always been this way.

Abortion has affected me, my family, my friends, my entire generation.

My daugher could've been aborted.

No one could've protected her from me. No one.

I was not an enemy from another country, but her own mother.

The most sacred bond on earth is between a mother and her child. I almost shattered that.

I have friends who have never been the same after their abortions. They still cry 5, 10, even 15 years afterwards. They did not find liberation, but regret, guilt, rage, despair, self-hatred, and a lack of trust and respect for men. (After all, in each case, it was the man who wanted and pushed for the abortion.)

It is horrible to lose a child (young or grown) in an accident, but the pain becomes ten fold when it's your own fault... My heart breaks for them!

We were not designed to turn on our own offspring. We are lovers, nurturers, and protectors of the weak and vulnerable.

I am not saying this to be disrespectful in anyway, but to me... those American soliders died in vain. For nothing.

How can we be promoting peace around the world, while we allow our fathers and mothers to destroy their own children? Do you know how hyprocritical we look? How dare we condemn enemies for not being peaceful, while we turn on our own kids... And not for life and death situations either. (Less than 5% of abortions are done for medical reasons.)

Abortion has wiped out 1/3 of my generation. It's like having a 9-11 every day. Which officially makes the womb the most dangerous place to live.

Over 55 million people gone in 35 years. You couldn't even touch that number by adding up all the US causalities of every war, through out history.

And our country is just about to start seeing the devistating impact of our loss. One example: A brilliant plan to help fix the social security crisis would be to have 55 million more people paying in. The baby boomers, don't have enough of us to care for them.

As they age, they will become the new "burdens". After all, their diapers will be that much bigger, their medical bills could cost more than a 4yr college education... (And where will all this money come from?)

Most easily put: Their lives will be endangered as they become "unwanted" by society; and even sometimes, by their families. (This is the next battle ahead)

(It's already happening. My grandfather was just "put down" by Oakwood hospital last May. Despite our best efforts to stop them. I had an aunt who didn't think his life was worth living, although he thought it was.)

It all boils down to the strong protecting and loving the weak, the vulnerable, the least among us.

As for my daughter, at 7 weeks gestation, she couldn't hide, run away, or defend herself. Not even one of those big, strong, courageous Marines could've legally protected her. He would've been thrown in jail. (and tried under the military courts...)

My daughter is going to be 8yrs next week. She has touched so many people... I can not bring to words how much of a gift she has been to my family, friends, and myself. She has changed my life. Her heart is so beautiful! She is so forgiving and loving...

Like a man for his country, I'm ready to die for her, if that's what it takes to protect her. And not too long ago, I was almost willing to have her die for me because I was afraid, and wanted to "hide" my mistake. I am so insulted that such a violent option was considered a "right" and was available to us, my daughter and I... we both would've been affected.

Obama is not my daughter's hero, nor is any other abortion supporter. He doesn't represent me, or my friends who have been exploited by abortion. (and there are hundreds of thousands of women just like them. I meet more and more every year.)

Every life is precious. Every person is priceless, including those who have died serving our country. But I have to go with the lessor of two evils, and help end the most bloodshed and violence... while protecting both mother and child.

Dr. Alveda King, Martin Luther King's niece, stands with us and claims her Uncle (MLK) would've called this the new civil rights movement. (Obama used his "Dream" to promote his agenda)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2070186/posts

Each pro-life voter has their own story. We all have been affected. Many much worse than I.

Sincerely,

Jenni



Another post I wrote:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=29063716&blogID=445585343&Mytoken=84F7FD7E-CFB5-4D4A-B3B6F5542CA94DE918173666

Rich said...

How can we be promoting peace around the world, while we allow our fathers and mothers to destroy their own children?

Question: Who exactly should we be trying to impress with your alleged "humanitarianism"? Pregnant Pause produces a map with purple representing permissive abortion laws, red being little bit less so and yellow being very restrictive. Note that the yellow countries are generally economically backwards places (Chile & Iran being the most prominent exceptions) and that the purple & red countries make up the vast majority of the world.

Granted, not all opponents of abortion are that way because they're opposed to women trying to break out of the social status known as "barefoot & pregnant," but I really don't think there's any evidence to support the idea that abortion is opposed by all right-thinking, moral people.

Also, please keep in mind that abortions were performed long before modern medicine came on the scene. You speak of the practice as though it didn't happen before the early 1970s. In fact, during the 1880s, it was one of the major justifications for outlawing traditional folk healers and for replacing them with officially-approved, college-trained doctors.

Rich said...

Update: Nope, not true at all. The story on women feeling guilty years later is bunk.