A UN committee recently expressed "alarm" over reports that hundreds of children have been killed by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan over the last five years. While U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) dismissed the committee’s concerns as "categorically unfounded," this is an issue that should be getting more attention in the U.S. and an issue that commander-in-chief, President Obama, should be addressing.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said the deaths were "due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force," but it gave no specific statistics. The committee’s comments come after a five-year review of U.S. compliance with an international treaty on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
"The US can and should do more to protect children affected by armed conflict," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, a watchdog agency based in New York.
Becker called on the U.S. to consider the committee’s recommendations, which include taking "concrete and firm precautionary measures and prevent indiscriminate use of force" to ensure that no more civilians and children are killed.
UN figures show that the vast majority of civilian casualties in the Afghan war are caused by Taliban insurgents, mainly through bombs and suicide attacks. The U.S. forces statement, which said that insurgents killed or injured nearly 3,500 civilians in 2012 — 84 percent of the total — stands as confirmation that NATO forces are still responsible for roughly eight percent of civilian deaths.
This is the price of war, and it’s time to recognize that this price is too high. The U.S. forces’ diversionary tactic of "but look how many children we’re NOT killing" is not enough. Children are being killed. It’s difficult for me to find one morally-justifiable excuse for that. Are the lives of Afghani children of less value and importance than our American children?
It seems that killing innocent children goes hand in hand with U.S. assertions of itself as the international police force and the leader of global democracy enforcement. U.S. foreign policy in this regard has been nothing but an excuse to subvert the democratic process and push the modern imperialist agenda.