Bryan Fischer
Taliban, not U.S., bears guilt for civilian deaths
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By Bryan Fischer
May 13, 2010

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, heading up the military effort in Afghanistan, has issued such restrictive rules of engagement that U.S. forces are not allowed to open fire on the Taliban, even if they have them dead in their sights, if there are any civilians in the vicinity.

The Taliban, of course, know this, since I do, and they're not as dumb as we are, so they just cluster civilians around them wherever they go, and voila, our hands are tied.

Here is an excerpt from an article today on FOX News (emphasis mine):

The United States has taken "extraordinary measures" to avoid civilian deaths in the war, Obama said, a nod to Karzai's loud complaints last year that U.S. airstrikes were killing innocents and making enemies of those who might be friends.

"I do not want civilians killed," Obama said, adding that he is ultimately accountable when they are.

Heavy restrictions on when U.S. warplanes can fire at suspected militants
are among the changes to war policy installed by the general Obama sent last year to turn around the war.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, facing Obama and Karzai in the front row Wednesday, has said he is willing to let a few killers slip away if it means saving civilian lives. Insurgents often hide among civilians, taking over homes or using refuge provided willingly by sympathizers. Obama accepted McChrystal's argument that either way, killing the other people in a house only breeds resentment and makes it harder to argue that the U.S.-backed government in Kabul is on their side.


McChrystal's rules, as misguided as they are, are understandable as a lame attempt to apply the Just War theory to the conflict in Afghanistan. It's been a longstanding principle of Christian armies that we do not intentionally inflict civilian casualties except as a last resort and only if it will save more lives in the end.

The Taliban, of course, care nothing for Christian theories unless they can turn them to their advantage, which they have clearly done here. We are the saps playing into their hands by keeping our military from doing what it is trained and purposed to do — kill the enemy.

Again, the impulse is well-intentioned, but hopelessly naive and guaranteed to turn a chance at victory into a guarantee of defeat.

Further, this misguided policy will expose American soldiers needlessly to increased risk of death as there will be many circumstances under these inane rules in which they will be required to receive fire without being able to return it. What kind of a military policy is that?

The crux here is this. If the Taliban use human shields (as Hamas and Hezbollah do in their conflict with Israel), and civilian casualties result, who bears the moral culpability for those injuries and deaths? The Taliban does, not the United States.

So the president is simply and morally wrong when he says that he himself is "accountable" when civilians die in the Afghani conflict.

It is the Taliban, not the U.S., who is exposing these innocent civilians to lethal force. The guilt rests entirely on their shoulders and not on ours. We are not targeting innocent civilians, we are targeting the Taliban. If the Taliban in its vicious inhumanity chooses to put civilians in the line of fire, it is the Taliban which must bear the guilt both before God and the world.

No one in a Christian nation takes pleasure in the death of the innocent. That's just one of the many things that separates Christianity from Islam and authentic Christians from devout Muslims. The mere fact that Muslims can without compunction expose innocent human beings to deadly force out of sheer self-protection is further proof that Rev. Franklin Graham was right when he called Islam an "evil and wicked religion."

So let's be sure in all the moral posturing and preening that takes place (we're now thinking about awarding medals — God help us — to soldiers who avoid combat) that we lay the moral blame for the loss of innocent life in Afghanistan squarely where it belongs: on Islam and the Taliban.

© Bryan Fischer

 

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