Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Collateral Damage?

Lost in all the recent weeks of election coverage was another tragedy in Afghanistan involving the bombing of civilians.

An Afghan government commission has said 90 civilians, including 60 children and 15 women, died in Aug. 22 U.S. bombings, a finding that the U.N. backed in its own initial report.

But a U.S. investigation released soon afterward said only up to seven civilians and 35 militants were killed in the operation in the western province of Herat.

Later they conceded it was much high of a death toll. Give me a break.

They call it collateral damage...military and political speak for dead civilians caught in the crossfire..I despise that term since it doesn't accurately describe the real devastating loss of war...

I was reminded that I wrote a poem about the ridiculous notion of collateral damage in reference to the Kosovo bombings in the late 1990s.....

Seems very timely now..



When missiles go astray
and innocent lives
happen to get in the way,
they call it an accident,
an unfortunate circumstance of war,
collateral damage,
a necessary risk.

What is accidental about:
torn limbs?
bodies mangled and twisted
beyond recognition?
shell shocked eyes staring silent?
hollow faces?
lifeless fingers clinging
to fading life?
bombed out homes?
shattered hopes?
fractured lives?
dreams blown apart?

It's then you realize
are not enough
to mend
the hearts and minds
of those caught in the crossfire,
their futures exploded
and strewn across the cold ground
like bomb fragments,
giving new meaning to the word

George Pappas
Copyright 2008

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