KABUL (Reuters) - At least seven children were killed in a U.S.-led coalition air strike on a religious school in Afghanistan, the coalition said on Monday, amid rising anger over civilian deaths from foreign military operations.It has been said that air strikes are the first and last weapon in a nation's arsenal: you send in bombers first to soften up the enemy, then send in troops and then as you withdraw (or are defeated), you desperately fire up some missiles and fling them to a) cover your retreat and b) send in an indefensible weapon.
A U.S. military spokesman said some children who survived Sunday's raid said pupils had been forced by insurgents to stay inside the madrasa.
"We are truly sorry for the innocent lives lost in this attack," said Army Major Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman, in a statement.
"We had surveillance on the compound all day and saw no indications there were children inside the building."
But a school?
If anyone wonders why the sign-up rates for Islamist terrorist groups is far higher than the rate at which we're killing them, well, here's exhibit A.
Let's pull out some caveats here before continuing: This was probably not a school like Columbine is a school in that you had a few bad apples alongside a large majority of sheep-like students who only wanted to finish class and go outside and play. You probably, probably, had a large number of boys being inculcated to hate Americans (as if they really needed help after the past six years). And terrorists do use children as shields, we've learned that from watching the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts of the past decades.
Lastly, Afghanistan is a war that nearly everyone can at least, in theory, get behind (or at least not hate quite so much). It's where Al Qaeda was allowed to foment terror, the Taliban were a really nasty ugly bunch of pricks, and we had little if any idea of what weaponry they had been able to get their hands on--although no one was accusing them of possessing WMD's, you'll notice. Most Americans could understand an escalation in Afghanistan, a "surge," if you will.
Nevertheless, does anyone in their right mind think lobbing a few missiles at a school was a good idea?
This is a circumstance that cried out for boots on the ground, for a strike team or hell, even a frikkin' battalion, to go in and go room to room.
Would children have died? Sure. Some of them with weapons in their hands, likely, and many others as an obstacle to NATO bullets. Would the count be as high as seven? Perhaps; no, probably higher.
The one thing there wouldn't have been, however, is a recruiting poster for thousands more Islamic warriors.
It seems to me that we've probably exhausted the really rigid, dogmatic wings of the Muslim religion. We've probably killed many of them, more likely many of them are still battling in such far-flung battlescapes as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and so on.
Now we're helping to recruit moderate Muslims who see the horrors and tragedies of these senseless attacks, and think we're bent on genocide. And who's to say we aren't? We have CNN, they have Al Jazeera, so one can only imagine what their version of "Fox News" is passing on to the rabid undereducated, just as our own Fox does to feed the red meat morons of our nation.
We've set in motion some horrific and cataclysmic historic cycles for not decades, but centuries to come through our blunders and bluster. Rome had its overexpansion and ultimately cracked from within AND without. We've clearly bitten off more than we can chew.
The Romans, at least, could be excused for ignorance of history. Bush was merely ignorant.