The U.S. criticized Russia for killing civilians in Syria.
But just last week, the U.S. intentionally bombed one of the only hospitals in Northeastern Afghanistan (run by Nobel prize-winner Doctors Without Borders), killing hundreds. This occurred 3 months after U.S.-backed Afghani special forces raided and threatened the hospital, and after the hospital had repeatedly given its gps coordinates to the U.S. military … and repeatedly called saying they were under attack.
And the Washington Post notes that incendiary bombs may have been used:
The AC-130U plane, circling above in the dark, raked the medical compound with bursts of cannon fire, potentially even using high explosive incendiary munitions, for more than an hour. The assault left at least 22 people dead, some of them burned to death.
It’s a war crime to bomb a hospital without giving adequate warning so patients can leave:
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 7, 2015
This is not the first time the U.S. has bombed civilian targets:
- In 1969 and 1970, the U.S. bombed several hospitals and a Red Cross facility in Cambodia
- On February 13, 1991, the U.S. purposefully targeted an air raid shelter near the Baghdad airport with two 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs, which punched through 10 feet of concrete and killed at least 408 Iraqi civilians.
- On April 23, 1999, NATO intentionally bombed a Serbian television station, killing 16. President Clinton said of the bombing: “Our military leaders at NATO believe … that the Serb television is an essential instrument of Mr. Milosevic’s command and control. … It is not, in a conventional sense, therefore, a media outlet. That was a decision they made, and I did not reverse it.” U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke said right after the attack that it was “an enormously important and, I think, positive development.” Amnesty International noted it was “a deliberate attack on a civilian object and as such constitutes a war crime.”
- On October 16, 2001, the U.S. attacked the complex housing the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul, Afghanistan. After detailed discussions between the U.S. and the Red Cross about the location of all of its installations in the country, the U.S. bombed the same complex again two weeks later. The second attack destroyed warehouses clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem containing tons of food and supplies for hungry refugees
- On November 13, 2001, the U.S. bombed the Al Jazeera television bureau in Kabul.
- On April 8, 2003, the U.S. bombed the Al Jazeera bureau in Baghdad, killing a reporter. The British home secretary at the time subsequently revealed that – a few weeks before the attack – he had urged Prime Minister Tony Blair to bomb Al Jazeera’s transmitter in Baghdad.
- Also on April 8, 2003, a U.S. tank fired a shell at the 15th floor of the Palestine Hotel, where most foreign journalists were then staying. Two reporters were killed. The Committee to Protect Journalists found that the attack “was avoidable”
The U.S. has also carried out numerous war crimes by killing civilians with drone strikes. This includes “double tap” strikes which target rescuers attempting to save those injured by drone strikes, and “signature strikes” that kill people whose identities aren’t even known, based on metadata on their phones or their proximity to war zones.
And the U.S. has committed a slew of other war crimes, including:
- Carrying out terrorism … literally
- The use of depleted uranium, which can cause cancer and birth defects for decades (see this, this, this, this, this and this)
- The Pentagon sent one of the main US creators of the death squads in El Salvador into Iraq to set up paramilitary death squads and torture centers
None of this is intended to excuse any civilian casualties inflicted by Russia. But America should not throw stones in glass houses …