Death is almost never welcome. And it is simply unacceptable to find out that someone had died in a hospital not because of his or her illness but because of bombing sustained by the facility.
It is a major crime to attack a hospital. Unfortunately, that is what has been happening in war ravaged territories from Afghanistan to Israel.
Last year, the US forces bombed a hospital in Afghanistan that was managed by MSF (or Doctors Without Borders). The hospital was well known to everyone, esp. the US forces, and was catering to the needs of the sick and wounded in the locality. And yet, it was bombed by the US forces killing not only the patients there but also many of the hospital stuffs, including doctors and nurses. This week, the US military while disciplining some of its rogue members for the war crime failed to acknowledge the war crime only saying that it was a mistake. Pentagon officials say that 16 personnel, including one general, will face “administrative discipline” for their role in the October 3 US attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital on the outskirts of Kunduz, an attack which killed 42 civilians. There will be no criminal charges for anyone involved.
As rightly noted by Jason Ditz, despite U.S. officials presenting this as “punishment,” the actions are overwhelmingly a slap on the wrist, with officials saying six of the 16 were sent for counseling, two were ordered to take new training courses, one was temporarily suspended and seven were issued “letters of reprimand.”
The letters of reprimand are the most severe of the mild actions, with officials saying it means those seven will likely not be able to secure promotion to higher ranks, suggesting that might end some of their careers.
The USA and NATO forces have done such war crimes many times not only in Afghanistan but also in other war ravaged countries, e.g., Iraq, Syria and Pakistan.
Israel has been a master of such war crimes in Gaza. Saudi Arabia, in his war against the Houthis in Yemen, has also been following the Israeli lead in such war crimes.
This week saw an airstrike hitting and destroying a major hospital in the al-Qaeda-held eastern portion of the city of Aleppo in Syria, killing at least 27 civilians. The hospital was run by MSF. This time the criminals are the Syrian Baathist/Nusayri regime and Putin's Russia. UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has issued a statement yesterday, accusing last night’s attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Aleppo, a strike which killed 27 civilians, of being deliberate.
The White House declared the attack on the MSF hospital “abhorrent” and “immoral,” while Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Russia is obliged to do everything in its power to ensure that the Syrian government stops attacking medical facilities.
Official US outrage, however, is likely tempered at least a bit by their own attack on an MSF hospital in Afghanistan back in October, which killed even more civilians, and which the Pentagon declined to court-martial anyone over.
MSF has been harshly critical of the attack, noting it amounts to a war crime, and has been pressing for an independent, international investigation. President Obama has ruled out allowing such a probe, though the release of the final report is likely to spur more such calls.
Will the victims' families ever see justice in such war crimes? With the criminals ruling our world these days, I doubt we shall ever see justice in our time!