Democratic Underground

Collaterally Damaging
October 27, 2001
by Adrian Luca

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Abeda Wali is in mourning for her brother this morning. Hours before, in the black of night, Mohammed was terminally, collaterally damaged when a U.S Navy F14 Tomcat dropped a bomb on their downtown Kabul hovel.

"One minute I was fast asleep. The next I was lying under a pile of mud bricks and ceiling struts", she says, waving away the flies that continue to settle on her open, untreated, facial collateral damage.

The bomb that fell on Abeda and Mohammed Wali's house was a 5,000-pound laser-guided weapon known as a GBU 28, and was personally signed by the crew of the USS Enterprise.

Unsurprisingly, Abeda,a former chemist, widowed 17 years ago when the Moujahedeen executed her husband for teaching math at a co-educational high school, holds no-one but herself and the Taliban responsible for the collateral damage of her brother, who, under the Taliban's harsh form of Islamic law, was her only source of food. "It's like Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said on CNN today. Collateral damage, although unfortunate, is the inevitable result of the U.S's necessary actions against Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network and the brutal thugs who support and protect him. How could I blame any American for what has happened, when at this very moment, near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, the US Air Force is airdropping thousands of care packages containing baked beans and oreo cookies?'

What does surprise Abeda Wali is the news that the bomb that fell on her home was daubed with the slogan "Highjack(sic) This, Fags".

"It's amazing", she says, tears filling her eyes. "I just don't know how those sailors on that American aircraft carrier knew that my brother was a homosexual! Obviously nobody in our village guessed, or he'd have been strung up from the nearest lamppost the day the Taliban took over. My brother had to live a lie for many years, and it's just another sign of America's belief in diversity and pluralism that its military specifically and openly offers its services to people of alternative sexual orientation".

Unlike Abeda Wali, New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center has condemned the specific targeting of homosexuals in Afghanistan. "Afghan civilians should be collaterally damaged in an entirely nondiscriminatory manner, without reference to their bedroom preferences," said center spokesman Gerald Quince.