A US warplane shot at survivors fleeing the Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing, MSF reports

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Thanks, Obama.



My God, this would be a horrible war crime if some other country did it!


I wonder if metadata analysis didn’t turn the hospital up as a place where a number of cellphones belonging to suspected combatants were congregating? Seems like exactly the sort of error that will occur if you use graph theory to kill people.

Also wondering how many similar mistakes have been made where there wasn’t an international NGO around to kick up a fuss.


I guess folks should start inviting NGOs to their weddings…


“Also wondering how many similar mistakes have been made where there wasn’t an international NGO around to kick up a fuss.”

Exactly. You have to know this happens dozens or hundreds of times to the helpless and voiceless for each time it happens to someone the media cares about enough to chance pissing off the government.


Also wondering how many similar mistakes have been made where there wasn’t an international NGO around to kick up a fuss.

I bet quite a few, simply because in war people die and when you make a mistake in war the wrong people die. We have occasionally bombed our own side by mistake, after all.

Bombing a hospital is a war crime, right? As CiC, Obama bears responsibility for this act. Wouldn’t it be something if he joined the growing list of US officials who dare not travel overseas for fear of arrest?


Targeting journalists and NGO staff is such frequent in war that sometimes seems to be a way of clearing the field of witnesses instead of just mere mistakes, and the US military has also been involved in lots of these attacks (during the last Iraq war they bombed of Palestine Hotel in Bagdag, used AH64 to shoot Reuters journos in Bagdag, bombed and raided Red Crescent hospitals in Ramadi and Bagdag, …).


not unthinkable, but how do you explain that the attack wasn’t aborted when MSF informed everyone involved and/or responsible within minutes?

The before/after image in the OP is visually horrible and makes it nearly impossible for me to believe that it was not a planned bomb run; the timetable in the PDF (page 9 [document] or 8 [pagination]) make me think that the military had political support.


Are you American? Just, I swear this is an American thing. People go on shooting rampages because they’re sick. People hate us for our freedom. Socialism is bad because Stalin. Mistakes happen in war because, well, you don’t actually say. Always a nice, simple reason and usually one where shucks, there’s just nothing to be done.


Maybe these kinds of mistakes are being made because the US military has made a deliberate effort to remove on-the-ground intelligence operatives in favour of inferior metadata analysis that has never before been deployed in such a capacity? Playing number games with human lives once before led to My Lai. It’s not even a case where the cost in innocent lives from inferior intelligence is not understood, simply that having troops on the ground has been more problematic than killing innocents in terms of US opinion and media coverage.

A war crime has been committed. Another one. Don’t just shrug your fucking shoulders.

I didn’t realise that. But to run with my theory anyway, maybe it just takes a long time for signals to reach mission command now that they’re running these kind of strikes from a basement in Texas? Presumably MSF notified the US military that the hospital was there long ago but there is probably too much organisational sprawl for that kind of information to diffuse to everyone who needs it.

I can’t see this being done on purpose, I don’t see a real advantage and I think they’d be terrified of exactly this sort of negative press. That time the Al Jazeera offices in Iraq took a direct hit, though…


They informed the NATO, the US Army, the Afghan forces and the regional headquarter for the occupation peace-keeping international forces multiple times, everyone acknowledged the coordinates.

afaik the current official explanation is “airsupport for friendly troops under fire”, a tactical operation most likely not ordered by an officer in Texas.

I think the official statement is bullshit, MSF said they were asked by Afghan and US officials a few days before the attack about Taliban leaders on the compound.


Have now read the report and I’d say it’s consistent with poor intel and communication. The call from D.C. asking if they have “a large number” of Taliban fits with using metadata to identify congregation points. The Resolute Support contact who has no idea what’s going on and responds to the situation by “praying” clearly does not know where mission command is on this one or which channel to use to get word to them.

I think there’s a number of ways intelligence can get lost in an organisation as complex as the US army. In this case I can imagine that there was a main force tasked with retaking Kunduz that was fully plugged in to and well supplied by army intelligence, while a special task force could also have been operating in the same region going after specific-high ranking targets with intelligence instead coming from somewhere in the CIA. The D.C. official and everyone else pass their information on to army intelligence and consider their job done, but the task force is too specialist to be expected to stay abreast of daily operational intelligence. The air force is barely plugged in at all, you give them coordinates and they’ll bomb what’s there and shoot what runs away. All speculative but in my opinion plausible.

The official statement is some serious bullshit, like the report says it was an unusually quiet night. Wherever mission command was physically, I think it’s very clear that the US military has been working with some rather novel intelligence gathering techniques, not to mention warfighting techniques, since around the time Obama turned up. I imagine internally there has been a good deal of struggling to keep up.

I always thought “never attribute to ignorance what could be equally attributed to malice” was a shitty phrase. But if I could see a reason the US government would want to blow up an MSF hospital, in the same way I could see why they would want to blow up an Al Jazeera office, I’d be more inclined to believe it.


Other countries do it all the time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_friendly_fire_incidents Even to football players! (remember Pat Tillman?)

Naaah. All he needs to do is flash his Nobel Peace Prize. Then they have to let him go.


I agree that deliberately bombing a hospital is not a politically helpful move.
But the current story is along the line “we bombed coordinates our partners gave us”. Can you imagine this for the coordinates of an US army camp? Don’t they check targets? And if they check targets: Why is a hospital not included in all datasets?

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Total fuckin’ mess one way or another, eh?


The other option…

Need to kickstart a lion costume air drop.


Was Lyndon Johnson brought up on charges for the My Lai Massacre?

Please show the evidence that the American military deliberately targeted the hospital/NGO because it was a hospital/NGO.

Just because other countries do it doesn’t make it right. Didn’t your mama teach you that? Do we aspire to be just as bad as other countries? What ever happened to American exceptionalism?