US Struggles to Square ‘Non-Combat’ in Afghanistan With Hospital Bombing

General: A Lot of Confusion on the Ground

The Obama Administration is involved in several wars in several countries, but officials is not engaged in “combat” operations anywhere. This struggle to square the reality with the pretense has grown all the more difficult with the latest report on October’s attack on an Afghanistan hospital.

The Pentagon’s latest (and apparently final) narrative has troops on the ground calling in an attack on the hospital under the assumption it wasn’t a hospital, and that it was taken by the Taliban. While the Pentagon has previously insisted a Taliban presence would not justify such an attack anyhow, and the hospital was clearly marked and well known, the fact that there were combat troops on the ground calling in airstrikes really conflicts with the claim of a purely “training” operation.

Gen. Votel, who gave the briefing on the matter, insisted it was a “fast-moving” situation that led to a lot of confusion, and that the troops were “trying to make the right decision” in attacking that hospital. He also described the situation as “the heat of combat.”

There is a lot of “heat of combat” in these “non-combat” roles, with similar situations bring the reality into focus in places like Iraq in recent weeks as well, where thousands of “non-combat” boots are on the ground, getting into way more combat than you’d expect.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.