U.S. and Afghan officials have tried to justify the recent U.S./NATO bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) hospital in Afghanistan (which killed 22 people) by claiming that it was housing Taliban fighters. Glenn Greenwald recently wrote of the:
“…long-standing tension between the Afghan military and this specific MSF hospital, grounded in the fact that the MSF — true to its name — treats all wounded human beings without first determining on which side they fight.”
In fact, the Afghan military raided that same hospital a few months earlier on that same basis. Later in the same post, Greenwald added:
“Fox News yesterday cited anonymous ‘defense officials’ that while they ‘regret the loss’ of innocent life, they say the incident could have been avoided if the Taliban had not used the hospital as a base, and the civilians there as human shields.”
Doctors Without Borders completely denies this allegation.
In any case, the U.S. seems to have a double standard when it comes to organizations offering medical treatment to Islamic extremist insurgents who are enemies of America.
For a long period, Israeli military medics took in numerous insurgents from Jabhat al-Nusra (the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda) wounded from fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, patched them up, and sent them back across the border to resume fighting. The mainstream media has studiously ignored this story, but it has been amply documented and confirmed.
Israel tried to justify this by characterizing it as a purely humanitarian policy, much akin to the Doctors Without Borders policy of treating everyone in need, no questions asked.
However, journalist Asa Winstanley has exposed this as pure propaganda:
“If that were really the case, Israel would be treating combatants from all sides in the Syrian war and furthermore it would arrest suspected al-Qaeda militants. But in reality, all reports confirm that the Israelis are treating only the ‘rebel’ side, including the al-Qaeda militants that lead the armed opposition in that area of Syria (as indeed they do in much of the country). The key difference that disproves the propaganda line, and proves an active Israel-al-Qaeda alliance is that, after treatment, instead of arresting them, the al-Qaeda fighters are sent back to fight in Syria. There is no chance at all that, in the event that Israel captures injured Hamas, Hizballah or Iranian combatants alive, it would send them back to Gaza or Syria to ‘go on their way,’ as the unnamed Israeli official put it.”
As egregious as it is, this policy should have been no surprise. Israeli officials have made it crystal clear that they prefer Al Qaeda and ISIS to Syria’s secular nationalist government under Bashar al-Assad.
Of course, unlike Doctors Without Borders, the Israeli medics who treated Al Qaeda were never attacked by the many American bombers active over Syria. (Israel gets plenty missiles from America alright, but in the form of weapons shipments.) Washington never even verbally rebuked Israel for the policy, even though Al Qaeda is the organization widely believed to have perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.
Truly humanitarian medical care by world-renowned doctors that might possibly benefit the Taliban? That will get you and your patients bombed and burned alive by American missiles.
Cynically strategic rehabilitative aid by a colonialist military specifically meant to benefit Al Qaeda? That won’t even warrant a wag of Uncle Sam’s finger.
That’s what it means to have a “special relationship” with the U.S. empire: unconditional friendship from Washington, even when Israel acts like an outright enemy of the American people.
Originally published at theantimedia.org on October 9, 2015.
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