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26 October 2015


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Associated Press has a lot of detailed info on this:


Frankly, this procedural playacting is itself evidence that the Obama people already know what happened but need time to figure out a strategy to fudge the story and accountability for what happened. There are, in fact, very few people involved; if the Afghans are excluded they can only number in the single digits. Interviewing them is a half-day's work that hardly requires three Generals and their staffs. Of course, those are Central Command's data analysts cannot be expected to available on a moment's notice given the criticality of the work they're doing looking for ISIL targets in the desert.


Feel free to disagree with international law, but that AP article gets it wrong--it is LEGAL to attack a hospital if one has a reasonably good basis for believing there are armed Taliban present (and if expected civilian casualties are not disproportionate to the military goal sought--here, I suspect, killing Taliban leadership cadres).

Maybe bad optics, maybe bad morally, etc. etc. But international law is clear--LEGAL.

Eric Dönges

It seems to me that if you are going to deliberately attack a hospital, you should make damn sure that there are actually armed Taliban present, if for no other reason than to avoid bad press. And you really should get the story you are going to tell the world straight before you start shooting, and not change it multiple times after the fact.


The problem with your assertion is that the evidence does not support it; MSF repeatedly denied there were Taliban in the hospital, much less that they were under Taliban control:

"The AP previously reported that U.S. analysts believed a Pakistani operative, working for his country’s Inter-Service Intelligence directorate, was using the hospital to coordinate Taliban movements, and after the attack, the Pakistani operative was purported to have been killed. But there is no public evidence to suggest that a Pakistani died at the hospital, and DWB, which has repeatedly denied that the compound was under Taliban control or that gunmen were firing from it, says that none of its staff was Pakistani."


Confirmed civilian death toll 30+, suspected Taliban, maybe 1, maybe 0. This guts your third point, making your final verdict anything but clear.


That's fair.

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