VOICES FROM UNDER THE BOMB - AFGHAN CIVILIANS SPEAK OUT
My wife is dead. The Americans destroyed our family. What should I do? They should bomb the enemy. Not us... I heard the explosion and ran towards the house. I ran home and I saw everyone under the clay, under the collapsed roof. We began to pull out our dead and wounded.
We support America, because it's against terrorism, it has begun the fight, but we will not forgive such mistakes if they happen again. We think this bombing was intentional, because the Americans' weapons are very accurate. The frontline is a long way away from us and they promised they would not bomb civilians.
What shall I do now? Look at their savageness. They killed all of my children and husband. The whole world is responsible for this tragedy. Why are they not taking any decision to stop this?
As an Afghan woman, I want to say - why, for one person, should thousands of others be killed and destroyed? I'm not sad or sorry for myself, my son. I want to sacrifice myself and my son and I have already sacrificed my husband who was a military general. I am sorry and sad for the poor Afghans who have been involved in the American bombing. We hear that they have been involved and there are many causalities among them in the Herat hospital and on their way from Afghanistan to Pakistan at Chaman and in the mountains. Who will take care of these innocent people? Some have lost babies, girls have suffered, on the way to Pakistan.
THE COALITION OF WAR BECOMES FRAYED
I think there is a real confusion creeping into the government in terms of its war aims and objectives.
- Peter Kilfoyle, British defence minister
The US objective of waging a war on Afghanistan does not seem to have been achieved. Now the world, including Pakistan, has started thinking that whatever is currently happening in Afghanistan is not good... The Muslims are upset over a large number of civilian casualties.
- Moinuddin Haider, Pakistani federal interior minister
Even those who have supported military action from the outset are beginning to ask what our real objectives are and whether we are going about securing them in the right way. On these points the Government has not always been its own best ally. Recently it has failed to get the message across that there has to be a clear connection between a defined set of war aims and the current military action.
- Iain Duncan Smith, leader of the British Conservative Party
It is pretty galling to be told we lack moral fiber when we are asking legitimate questions about what exactly is being attacked outside Kabul.
- Labor Party legislator, U.K.
The U.S. is not used to attacks on its soil, but 5,000 people Ñ if you compare this to the world wars, or to Rwanda, there is a kind of imbalance. People are beginning to be angry here. They were moved by Sept. 11, but feel that the U.S. is being overbearing. Normally, the Swiss are pro-American, but in Afghanistan, we see a small and powerless country being trashed out by the U.S. As a small country, we have some sympathy.
-Claude Monnier, Former Editor of The Geneva Journal
I worked in the World Trade Center and the anger and fury I felt will never wane Ñ but this is against the background of the U.S. role in the Middle East. It's very difficult to balance images of Israeli tanks and images of those planes crashing.
-Bongani Sibeko, South African advertising executive
THE DOGS OF WAR
Consider some historical perspectives. After the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl
Harbor, it took four months before the United States responded to that attack with the
Doolittle Raid in April of '42. It took eight months after Pearl Harbor before the U.S. began
a land campaign against the Japanese, with the invasion of Guadalcanal in August of 1942.
The U.S. bombed Japan for three and a half years, until August 1945, before they
accomplished their objectives.
- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
The immediate problem needs to be addressed with all the might of the United States military power and issues such as Ramadan or civilian casualties -- however regrettable and however tragic -- and other issues have to be secondary to the primary goal of eliminating the enemy and doing it with whatever methods are necessary to achieve it.
- Senator John McCain
We're also fighting a war overseas with the purpose of hunting down the evildoers...
- President George W. Bush
We're used to the sound of bombing. I hope when he grows up he'll be a fighter, and I will teach him to use weapons.
- Rahman, a fighter with the Northern Alliance, about his 5 year old son
I'm not the same guy I was before the maniacs tried to tear our hearts out. I'm feeling more patriotic than at any time in my life, itching for justice, or maybe just revenge.
- Geraldo Rivera, new "war correspondent" for Fox News
GLIMPSES OF THE GROUND
But when I was invited to a meal by a senior Northern Alliance commander I know, I found there were several other leading commanders there, sitting cross-legged around the floor, eating his delicious bread and honey and yoghurt. They explained to me gloomily that this strategy wasn't working at all. They had noticed absolutely no feelers whatever from would-be Taleban defectors since the American bombing began.
- John Simpson, BBC world affairs editor