Journalist Anand Gopal on LA Times Photos of US Soldiers Posing With Afghan Corpses

Democracy Now! on April 19, 2012 14:56

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    We get reaction to two photographs published by the Los Angeles Times that show U.S. soldiers posing with the corpses and body parts of dead Afghans. “I think (the photos) shock us actually more than they shock Afghans,” says Anand Gopal, long-time Afghan war reporter. “From the Afghan perspective, we’ve had troops urinating on corpses, a massacre of 17 civilians, air strikes, night raids, troops cutting off fingers for sport, and so for Afghans this is part and parcel of the experience of being in war. … They keep talking about rotten apples," Gopal says of the Pentagon’s attempts to distance itself from the images. "But you have to wonder how many rotten apples you have to see before you realize that the tree itself is a problem." Meanwhile, several NATO allies have promised to underwrite Afghanistan's armed forces after foreign troops depart. The United States and other nations plan to retreat from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and hand the security issue over to Afghan security forces.

    Democracy Now! also discusses the photographs with Hakim, Coordinator for Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Watch:

    "If we don’t address the agreements that the U.S. and Australian governments and other governments are making for long-term war strategy in Afghanistan,” Hakim says, “We are heading for an increase in violence in this part of the world … more serious than the Kabul attacks.

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