Sunday, March 04, 2007

USMC winning hearts & minds in Afghanistan

Ever wonder why the United States Marine Corp is held up as a paragon of American military virtue? So do I. Here's how our Fightin' Leathernecks are working hard to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan, courtesy Editor&
JALALABAD, Pakistan -- U.S. Marines fleeing a militant ambush Sunday opened fire on civilian cars and pedestrians on a busy highway in eastern Afghanistan, wounded Afghans said. Up to 16 people were killed and 34 wounded in the violence, officials said.

As the Americans sped away, they treated every car and person along the highway as a potential attacker, said Mohammad Khan Katawazi, the district chief of Shinwar. But Maj. William Mitchell, a U.S. military spokesman, said those killed and injured may have been shot by the militants.

More than a half dozen Afghans recuperating from bullet wounds told The Associated Press that the U.S. forces fired indiscriminately along at least a six-mile stretch of one of eastern Afghanistan's busiest highways — a route often filled not only with cars and trucks but Afghans on foot and bicycles.
That's not all. In a related incident, uniformed Americans--it is unclear from the story if the Americans involved were US Army soldiers or Marines--deleted pictures taken by an AP photographer.
An American soldier then took [AP photographer Rahmat] Gul's camera and deleted the photos. Gul said he later received permission to take photos from another soldier, but that the first soldier came back and angrily told him to delete the photos again. Gul said the soldier then raised his fist as if he was going to strike Gul.
The story says "soldiers" but since I, as an American citizen, can't even tell the difference between Army and Marine Corp BDUs, why would anyone expect an Afghan civilian to?

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