Afghan deaths - Obama vows justice

2012-03-13 22:20

Washington - President Barack Obama on Tuesday sought to calm outrage over a massacre of civilians by a US soldier in Afghanistan, telling Afghans he took it as seriously as if Americans had been slaughtered.

Obama promised that the culprit for the rampage which killed 16 civilians, mostly women and children, in a methodical house-to-house killing spree, would face the "full force" of US law.

The president also sent a clear signal that the incident, the latest in a string of reverses for US policy in Afghanistan, would not deflect his plans for a responsible withdrawal and continued fight against al-Qaeda.

Obama told President Hamid Karzai that "the United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered".

"We're heartbroken over the loss of innocent life. The killing of innocent civilians is outrageous and it's unacceptable. It's not who we are as a country, and it does not represent our military."

Obama said he had directed the Pentagon to spare no effort in a full investigation, into why a US army sergeant and veteran of three tours of Iraq, apparently left his base and mounted a lone killing spree.

"I can assure the American people and the Afghan people that we will follow the facts wherever they lead us, and we will make sure that anybody who was involved is held fully accountable with the full force of the law."

Obama's decision to address the incident in a statement in the White House Rose Garden devoted to trade issues, appeared to underline deep US concern about the possibility of reprisals against American forces for the outrage.

It also came amid growing public debate about the state of US war strategy which is now being thrust into the heat of a US election as Obama campaigns for a second term, and tries to run on strong national security credentials.

The president said that he met the US ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker and Afghan mission commander General John Allen on Monday to discuss his strategy for a responsible withdrawal, fight to crush al-Qaeda and to provide Afghans with the means of securing their own security.

"There's no question that we face a difficult challenge in Afghanistan, but I'm confident that we can continue the work of meeting our objectives, protecting our country and responsibly bringing this war to a close," Obama said.

  • abdullah.sujee - 2012-03-13 23:47

    Why is this soldier not labelled ? Why is his religion not being questioned ? This person deserves the death penalty which is legal in many US states. That is the only Justice that could be served..

      Fred - 2012-03-14 07:51

      What do you believe should be done with the suicide and car bombers who intentionally kill many civilians too?

      zane.blignaut - 2012-03-14 08:25

      Um Fred... you cant do anything to a suicide bomber... he is already dead... hence the name SUICIDE bomber

      Fred - 2012-03-14 08:34

      :) :) I meant "what should be done about the suicide bombers".

      TBlogger - 2012-03-14 08:40

      You can't exactly do anything Fred, they don't walk around with a sign on them saying "Soon-to-be Suicide Bomber"........

      Paul - 2012-03-14 11:03

      @abdullah.sujee Aren't these "victims" the same people that danced in the streets after 911 burning US flags and rejoicing ??? The USA at least will punish this man ... tell of one Muslim country that has punished a Muslim terrorist? You can ask for labels as much as you like, even if he is a Christian he will be punished by Christians , because you see we have laws and rules against things like this Muslims(ok not all Muslims) have rules like it is good to kill Christians and Jews, and then you celebrate their deaths ... GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE!!!

  • Shaun - 2012-03-14 04:44

    "President Barack Obama on Tuesday sought to calm outrage over a massacre of civilians by a US soldier in Afghanistan, telling Afghans he took it as seriously as if Americans had been slaughtered". My question is what about all the other innocent civillian victims of USAF bombings in both Iraq and Afghanistan? Is that not also a massacre and a slaughter of the innocents? Train soldiers to be killers their entire lives, then when they dont kill in the name of their "noble patriotic quest" but rather because of post traumatic stress disorders then they are murderers and should be executed? Double standards much?

      Fred - 2012-03-14 07:55

      The US does not intentionally kill innocent civilians. It goes to great lengths to avoid this from happening. Distinct from the suicide and car bombers who have intentionally killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in their twisted quest to somehow "bring justice" on the freer world. I do agree with your second point: mentall illness must be treated differently to the intentional harming of civilians. If only the Muslim community would hold the same princiles for the killers in their midst who are hijacking the Muslim religion and distorting it.

      Fidel - 2012-03-14 08:10

      @Fred If they really wanted to avoid killing civilians', they could start by not killing them in the first place.

      Fred - 2012-03-14 08:35

      Intention is the key ingredient, Fidel, always.

      TBlogger - 2012-03-14 08:41

      They should not be in Afghanistan in the first place.. They are doing more harm than good!!!

  • malcolm - 2012-03-14 07:27

    Shaun, I agree with your sentiments. Quite frankly, I am not sure the US should ever have invaded Afghanistan. How many civilians have been killed in Afghanistan. Probably many more than Taliban. I am still not convinced the Taliban flew into the twin towers. I still get a strong feeling that the CIA arranged this themselves under the Bush Administration. There is far too much evidence to support this theory. Bush was desperately looking for a war in both Afghanistan and Iraq before he even got into power. You just have to listen to some of his election speeches.

      Fred - 2012-03-14 07:58

      You're missing an important point: who is responsible for intentionally harming civilians in Afghanistan? Al-Quaida and the Taliban. They advertise their intentions and responsibility. You shouldn't mush things together like that, or you come to the wrong conclusion. Like your idea that the US planned the 9/11 attacks. This is beyond looney-tunes.

      Fidel - 2012-03-14 08:05

      Remember that evidence is not the same as proof!

      Fred - 2012-03-14 08:36

      They're telling you they're doing it. Can't get more proof than that. Unless you're blinding yourself.

      Shaun - 2012-03-14 09:23

      Fred the US has admitted to wanting to carry out numerous "false flag" attacks on its own citizens before to justify entering wars. Operation Northwoods was a series of false-flag proposals that originated in 1962 within the United States government, and which the Kennedy administration rejected. The proposals called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or other operatives, to commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities and elsewhere. These acts of terrorism were to be blamed on Cuba in order to create public support for a war against that nation, which had recently become communist under Fidel Castro. Your ignorance is beyond "looney-tunes" unfortunately.

      Garth - 2012-03-14 11:27

      @shaun - conspiracy theorize much?

      Shaun - 2012-03-14 12:30

      Garth operation Northwoods is not a conspiracy theory it is written in our HISTORY BOOKS if you actually read them sir. Operation Northwoods would have been carried out if the then US President John F. Kennedy had agreed to allow this disgusting act to occur. Fortunately he did not but eventually in my opinion paid for his actions by being shot in the head while his security detail were called off his vehicle. Pull head out of sand and begin reading please for the sake of your children and mine.

      Waleed - 2012-03-14 12:54

      another false flag was the Lavon affair when Israel was caught with it's hand in the cookie jar aswell as the USS Liberty II "incident"

  • J-Man - 2012-03-14 08:04

    " telling Afghans he took it as seriously as if Americans had been slaughtered".. how 'gracious' of you Mr President.

      Shannon - 2012-03-14 08:52

      It does sound bad, and I cringe when I hear it. On the other hand...hell, I want my president to treat my life as paramount. He's supposed to work for me!

  • Fidel - 2012-03-14 08:12

    This atrocity wouldn't have happened if Washington had not first committed a previous atrocity on its own children - turning young people into killers. For me, any country that names its weaponry: "the Predator and the Reaper"... to name just a few, has little respect for life and suggests some satisfaction or a fetish in death and killing.

      Fred - 2012-03-14 08:36

      Yet you say nothing about the car and suicide bombers. It's truly weird Fidel. You cannot be taken seriously until you do.

      Fidel - 2012-03-14 08:45

      Again Fred, the suicide bombers have never claimed the moral high ground, like being "first" worlder, civilised, guided by justice and freedom, morally superior, etc. Since when did the leaders of the "free" world get to be judged by the same standards as the "terrorists"?

      Shaun - 2012-03-14 09:30

      Fred THE REASON for there being car bombers is because US troops are occupying foreign countries. These people do not have killer attack drones or long range Tomahawk missiles. They fight with the weapons they have. The same as the ANC fought here in South Africa. You and the US might call these people terrorists. People from occupied countries call them heroes. Tell me one thing. How many US soldiers would strap explosives onto themselves and die for the reasons they are in Iraq and Afghanistan sir? Thats what I thought..

      Garth - 2012-03-14 11:39

      @shaun - `Fred THE REASON for there being car bombers is because US troops are occupying foreign countries.' Are you drunk? Or just ignorant, you terrorist supporter? `How many US soldiers would strap explosives onto themselves and die for the reasons they are in Iraq and Afghanistan sir?' My answer to that is hopefully not one, ever! A cowardly act of terrorism is not a diagnostic of patriotism. In an effort to limit collateral damage, both to US (and other nations' soldiers) and to civilians, the unmanned drone project was launched. Nothing human is ever perfect and there are always going to be glitches, but unintentional killings of innocent people by a `glitch' are very different from the insanely, fundamentalist practice of killing innocent people intentionally, by car-bombing or suicide-bombing. A terrorist is a criminal coward if he does not face up to his foes in open battle. Retaliation against terrorists using any form imaginable, is justified.

      Shaun - 2012-03-14 12:42

      Garth either you are deliberately contradicting yourself or you are really that dumb. First you say "In an effort to limit collateral damage, both to US (and other nations' soldiers) and to civilians, the unmanned drone project was launched". Then you say "A terrorist is a criminal coward if he does not face up to his foes in open battle"? I vote dumb when it comes to you sir.. In my opinion these "terrorists" are fighting for liberation of their countries in their hearts. Whether that is right or wrong I am not the one to judge that. Only God can do that. Occupying these countries is antagonising the situation and causing desperate people to do desperate things. Strapping bombs onto themselves is one of them as they DO NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES TO DEVELOP DRONES OR OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION which the Americans throw at their enemies from great distances. Trust me I am sure the "terrorists" would love to meet face to face with their enemy. Problem is they never see them most of the time. Regarding the point I made about US troops strapping bombs to themselves I did not expect you to understand but I was hoping. Again the point is that the US troops hardly believe that the reason they are over there is a good one. They are paid mercenaries who work for a corrupt and evil Government which hold no value to local innocent civilian lives. Thus the bombings of schools and housing areas where civilians live. Its that simple.

  • Jerzy - 2012-03-14 08:14

    Here we go again, Fred with his flintstone ideologies and blind love affair with all that is American is becoming rather monotonous. Fact of the matter is, this soldier attacked and killed unarmed non combative civilians, and his fate should be determined by the Afghan people. Maybe he should be extradited to another country, imprisoned without trial for a few years, and waterboarded until he makes a "confession". All of this is legal under US law.

      Fred - 2012-03-14 08:38

      That's a high-principled response? I suppose if that's your level of thinking, low revenge, then my principles would appear to be "a blind love affair". I feel sad for you.

      TBlogger - 2012-03-14 08:44

      @Jerzy, Love your thinking. The soldier should be given to the Afghan people.. He did no harm to the americans (other than making them look like fools) Give him to the Afghans.. then you'll know the true meaning of Justice.. Wish those type of punishments were allowed in our country.. People would be too scared to even think of doing harm unto others!

      Shaun - 2012-03-14 09:31

      Fred I feel sad for you sir.

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-03-14 10:03

    Fred, you can't win :)) Foot in mouth big time, he, he. But that was a good laugh for the day.

  • Rob - 2012-03-14 10:39

    Amazing how the Arab world is always " outraged " when their members are the victims of an attrocity, yet strangely silent or in many instances jubilant when innocent citizens of the West are victims to their attrocities. Freds detractors have yet to provide a straight answer to the actions of arab car & suicide bombers. Straight up Fred, you hit the nail on the head.

      Garth - 2012-03-14 11:45

      Agree with you on the outrage point Rob. When muslims and other religious peoples place more value on human life then on their silly archaic beliefs, this world will change for the better.

      Shaun - 2012-03-14 12:48

      Rob please go and firstly read more about "Operation Northwoods". Secondly no allied country has foreign troops occupying it and having its Government picked by the occupiers. Neither you or Fred can provide an answer to "false flag" events and why is the US army still occupying countries which when Obama took over as President promised he would pull out of? Then you sit here and point fingers at the Arab World before asking how many Arabs have died compared to Americans in this war so far? Disgusting comments from both of you who hold such disrespect for any Human life.

      Rob - 2012-03-14 14:34

      Shaun...I probably have more respect for human life then the majority of fanatical Arabs out there who are forever calling out for " Death to....( Take your pick ) I imagine the Afghans, were only too pleased to have the Americans kick Taliban Butt, when they first arrived. From the documentaries I have watched & articles read, life under the Taliban was very dire indeed. So it's ok to brainwash young Arabs & turn them into fanatics, who's only purpose is to blow themselves up, plant car bombs in crowded civillian areas around the world & cause death & destruction in all corners of the earth in the name of their God. Much respect there !

      Jaba - 2012-03-14 14:58

      I agree! It’s as if Muslims are not allowed to look in the mirror, and thus they can not handle criticism (remember the Danish cartoons) It’s a clash of civilizations and unfortunately we have only seen the begging of it.

      Shaun - 2012-03-14 15:27

      ...and still you provide no rational answer or explanation for incidents like "Operation Northwoods" or other false flag events like the "gulf of Tonkin". All orchestrated by the US Government to muster support for their illegal entries into wars. Albeit one was rejected by an eventually assasinated US President. To be honest your blatant disregard for the truth and the total acceptance of "mainstream" "documentaries" (made by the occupying countries FYI) makes me sick. It makes me sick to think how totally undercover racist and contradictory you are. On one hand you say how I should believe you that you have respect for Human life but in another you support the extermination of innocent civilians who have got nothing to do with this stupid war. Let me guess that if it aint white skinned then its ok to bomb it and massacre their innocents? Shame on you and shame on News24 for allowing your racist and disgusting comments to be printed!

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