The Coalition and their bases of doom

Rocket explodes in Afghan school, killing 6 kids
Facility is situated close to a coalition base; at least 14 people wounded


KABUL, Afghanistan – A rocket exploded in the middle of a packed school in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing six children, police said.

The rocket landed in the yard of Salabagh School in Asadabad, close to a U.S.-led coalition base, said Mohammed Hasan, a police commander in the city in volatile eastern Kunar province, near the Pakistani border.

At least 14 people were wounded, including one teacher and the school cleaner, Hasan said. The bodies of the six dead students were handed over to their parents, who came rushing to the school when they heard the blast.

A local police commander claims that insurgents targeted the school

The school’s proximity to a coalition base is apparently to blame here.

Got that? It’s NOT THE PEOPLE firing rockets. It’s us and our nearby bases.

We really need this settled. When US rockets, missiles, bombs, and gunfire go astray and accidentally kill civilians, it’s our fault. When enemy rockets, missiles, bombs, and gunfire go astray and accidentally kill civilians, it’s also our fault.

Now, I’m willing to concede that sometimes we miss or accidentally fire on the wrong target. And I’d hope that we take surrounding folks into consideration when establishing bases because we should expect those bases to the, um, center of attention at times.

But I’m wondering about the way this is written. The proximity of the coalition base is mentioned twice, once in the subhead and once in the second paragraph. Finally in the sixth paragraph, insurgents are mentioned. Here it is:

Hasan blamed Taliban insurgents for the attack and accused them of targeting the school as part of the rebels’ campaign against government-sponsored education.

So the idea that insurgents fired the rocket is basically hearsay, I guess, and after all this discussion of the nearby coalition base we learn that a local police commander claims that insurgents “targeted the school”. How is a spinner to spin that?

Easy. Don’t bother. Just conveniently ignore it and hope no one noticed. The next paragraph just repeats the statement that the coalition base is regularly attacked and that rockets fired at it often miss.

UPDATE: Okay. Yesterday I took exception to a Washington Post article, but I gotta give them a bit of credit on their coverage of this story. Their story seems to be the AP story the MSNBC crock story was pulled from, and comparing the two makes the MSNBC deficiencies stand out even more.

First, to my point, the WaPo version points out that the local police claim that insurgents targeted the school in paragraph two. (Don’t get all lovey-dovey with the WaPo, though…the paragraph also includes a “but” clause noting the proximity of the coalitio base. At least they’re open about their skepticism that the local police know anything about this case.)

At the end of the story is this:

Dozens of schools have been attacked and many burned since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001 for sheltering terror leader Osama bin Laden. Most of the attacks have come at night and not caused fatalities.

In January, a school headmaster was beheaded in front of his family after refusing to close his school. In October, gunmen shot and killed another principal in front of his students.

The Taliban claim that educating girls is against Islam and they even oppose government-funded schools for boys because they teach subjects besides religion.

Seems a bit relevant to the discussion, given that a local police commander claims it was intentional and not an errant potshot at the imperial overlords across the street.

Left unsaid is the fact that, despite knowing that schools are sometimes attacked and that teachers are sometimes beheaded in front of their families, some parents continue to believe it’s worth it to send their children to school and some teachers believe it’s worth it to continue to teach.


  1. And the bad thing is, I only read the headline at other sites and assumed that it was a US bomb. I hadn’t realized how much the media never reports on the children that die from the other side.

  2. Clearly the people in Afghanistan understand the difference though, which is good. Even though people in the West seem to find the concept difficult to understand. Schools are easy targets, but they strike the heart of all communities, no matter where in the world the attacks happen. It makes the people angry at the insurgents. Fear becomes less effective the more knowledge people have. Educated people who understand the events can see the futility of these attacks. Uneducated people will fear them. I’m sure teachers don’t lay their lives down for nothing. That man is a martyr for education and I hope he goes down in history with the respect he is owed.

  3. The school probably was the primary target of the Terrorist. They have been on a rampage in the countryside burning schools and killing teachers. If the MSM wanted to even try to be fair they would have mentioned such after the Police officers ‘claim’ it was on purpose. But then I guess the above part were they hinted the US fault by previous misses on the US base would not stand out so would it? World citizens Fari Un-biased the ‘american meida’ is not. Anit-american they ARE. Berrating of the US on every possible chance is not showing the ‘othersides point of view’ its just anti-american. Showing the other point would be like Memri playing Islamist speeches translated into english (thats the other sides point of view).