Kabul, Afghanistan - A U.S.-led force unleashed a major offensive in southern Afghanistan early Saturday, with thousands of Marines, together with Afghan and British soldiers, going into battle against a Taliban stronghold, according to reports.
Cathie's notes: According to the article:
Complicating the fight is the fact that, despite a last-minute exodus, most of the population of Marjah and the surrounding villages of 80,000 people, are still in their homes, raising the risk of civilian casualties that would seriously undermine the mission in Afghanistan.
In an earlier article, Robert Naiman wrote more about the likelihood of civilian casualties and the obligations the United States and NATO have to protect innocent civilians:
Under the laws of war, the US and NATO - who have told civilians not to flee - bear an extra responsibility to control their fire and avoid tactics that endanger civilians, Human Rights Watch noted. "I suspect that they believe they have the ability to generally distinguish between combatants and civilians," said Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch. "I would call that into question, given their long history of mistakes, particularly when using air power. Whatever they do, they have an obligation to protect civilians and make adequate provision to alleviate any crisis that arises," he said. "It is very much their responsibility."
An online action to appeal to President Obama and members of Congress was set up here. I just checked and it seems to be functioning even though the assault has begun.