December 24, 2012
Twenty children killed in Newtown, Connecticut,
and a huge outpouring in response: wall-to-wall media coverage, an avalanche of
flowers and stuffed animals, a river of ink in editorials, nationwide flags at
half mast, memorial funds and much, much more. Tens, hundreds, thousands of
children killed in Afghanistan.
Response: almost nothing Are Afghan children any less precious? Or does it make
a difference that the killers were wearing American uniforms, piloting US
helicopters and fighters, and operating drones? There was the March 2012 case,
of course, of the army sergeant who slaughtered
children:Stalking from home to home, a United States Army sergeant
methodically killed at least 16 civilians, 9 of them children, in a rural
stretch of southern Afghanistan
early on Sunday, igniting fears of a new wave of anti-American hostility,
Afghan and American officials said. … The man gathered 11 bodies, including
those of 4 girls younger than 6, and set fire to them, villagers said.
Or this, from October 2012:The
international military coalition in Afghanistan has confirmed that three
children were killed in a coalition artillery strike in Helmand Province,
expressing regret over the deaths and calling them “tragic.”… Family
members…said the children had been sent to gather dung, which farmers in the
area dry and use for fuel.
Or this one, also from October 2012:A
firefight that raged for an hour between international forces and the Taliban
in eastern Afghanistan killed four children who were in the area grazing their
sheep and goats, local officials said. The international forces apologized for
the episode Tuesday and said an investigation was under way.Or this one, from February
2012:The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, accused NATO on Thursday of
killing eight children in a coalition airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.
And from July 2012:The
fatal airstrike on Wednesday in Khost Province, which Afghan officials say
killed eight children and two women, ignited outrage in neighboring villages,
and it could deepen tensions between the Afghan government and Western
Or this catastrophic
one, from 2008, in which 60 children died (two, three, many
Newtowns):A United Nations human rights team has found “convincing evidence”
that 90 civilians—among them 60 children—were killed in airstrikes on a village
in western Afghanistan on Friday, according to the United Nations mission in
There are hundreds of these cases, dating back to the
earliest days of the war in Afghanistan, in 2001-2002.Don’t expect any
wall-to-wall coverage by CNN anytime soon.