It was only months ago when a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan was blown apart by a U.S. attack.
Now, even though the Pentagon is disciplining 16 soldiers, it says this was not a war crime.
Is the Pentagon right?
This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.
Friday, the Pentagon announced that a U.S. bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan will result in 16 U.S. military personnel being disciplined.
That discipline came after the October strike of the hospital which reportedly had 100 people in it at the time. A total of 42 people died, 30 of whom were civilians.
Keep in mind, Doctors Without Borders notified the Pentagon of this hospital’s exact GPS coordinates and location well in advance. According to the Pentagon, Doctors Without Borders did everything correctly.
And the Pentagon says it was the U.S. military who did not act properly when it “failed to comply with the rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict,” and the military blamed the strike on “a combination of human errors, compounded by process and equipment failures.” The Pentagon also cited “fatigue and high operational tempo” and said that the bombing was a result of the “fog of war.”
But does that reasoning hold water?
According to the Pentagon report, the building “did not have the internationally- recognized symbol to identify it as a medical facility, such as a red cross or red crescent that was readily visible to the aircrew at night.”
But a New York Times reporter is refuting that, saying that the hospital “was brightly lit. Spread on the hospital roof was a large white & red flag reading ‘Médecins Sans Frontiers,’ the group’s French name.”
And remember, the conclusion of this report was that while there was no war crime, the “U.S. personnel violated the laws of armed conflict.”
So what you need to know is how 16 U.S. military personnel violated the laws of armed conflict and yet none of them, not one, will be charged with any crime is almost inexplicable. But what is even more surprising, and something most media will not address, is that almost 8 months after the bombing of this hospital the Pentagon still refuses to allow any independent investigation into what happened.
Where we stand today: the Pentagon investigated its own mistake, found that it was only a mistake and they will hand out the punishments which will not include any criminal charges or jail time for anyone.
Sounds like a system with absolutely no accountability for the dozens of innocent lives that were taken.
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about it on Twitter.