December 28, 2005
Terrorists' "Human Shield" Tactics Take Toll on Civilians
That is what the title of this article should be; instead, the Washington Post misleadingly titled it U.S.Airstrikes Take Toll on Civilians, as if to say that the U.S. military is killing Iraqi civilians indiscriminately.
In recent days, the US military has increased the number and tempo of airstrikes. Terrorists, rapidly losing local support, have taken to hiding amongst unwilling civilians. The terrorists barge into civilian houses, either hoping to use the family as human shields -- or simply to kill them and blame it on Americans.
"I wholeheartedly believe the vast majority of civilians are killed by the insurgency," particularly by improvised bombs, said Col. Michael Denning, the top air officer for the 2nd Marine Division, which is leading the fight against insurgents in Anbar province.
In an interview at a Marine base at Ramadi, Anbar's provincial capital, Denning acknowledged that a city was "a very, very difficult place to fight." He said, however, that "insurgents will kill civilians and try to blame it on us."
Many civilians have been directly killed by the terrorists, and many others have been killed by the US response to terrorist attacks from populated locations. In either case, the root cause is terrorism itself, not the United States.
We don't know the exact number of civilian casualties. Numbers we get from local civiilians, witnesses, and hospital workers, like that "100,000 dead civilians" canard of a few months ago, are notoriously unreliable. Anderson Cooper of CNN, reporting an interview he conducted in a hospital, said that one hospital worker refused to discuss anything in Arabic because he did not want the local policeman to hear what he said; he was afraid for his life if the cops heard him saying what he said. Many local citizens' testimony can be tainted, either by sympathy for the terrorists, or simply by fear of them.
And yet some still think it is important to track down those elusive civilian casualties.
Sarah Sewall, deputy assistant secretary of defense from 1993 to 1996 and now program director for the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard, said the military's resistance to acknowledging and analyzing so-called collateral damage remained one of the most serious failures of the U.S. air and ground war in Iraq...
"In a conflict like Iraq, where civilian perceptions are as important as the number of weapons caches destroyed, assessing the civilian harm must become a part of the battle damage assessment process if you're going to fight a smart war," she said.
Such numbers might be useful in an academic sense; they might even be beneficial, so long as the're reported in the correct context. However, civilian casualty statistics are almost invariably reported by mainstream American media as the result of American aggression towards the Iraqi people. If civilian perceptions were that important, then announcing civilian casualty numbers out of context would do far more harm than good to the country... assuming anyone at the Post cared about that.
In general then, it is a very bad idea to start reporting civilian casualties; if we did, then the nightly news would report, "in heavy fighting in the Anbar province of Iraq today, two Maines were killed. Following American airstrikes, eight civilians were found dead." They might just forget to add -- "dead, with their throats slit by the terrorists. Oh, and did we mention that forty-eight terrorists were killed by those airstrikes?"
People in Iraq are not stupid. They know that whenever terrorists come to their town, it's bad news. When civilians are killed, the families typically know exactly who to blame.
Near the town of Qaim one day last month, a man who identified himself only as Abdul Aziz said a separate U.S. airstrike killed his grown daughter, Aesha. Four armed men were also found in the rubble of her house, he said.
"I don't blame the Americans. I blame Zarqawi and his group, who were using my daughter's house as a shelter," said Abdul Aziz, referring to Abu Musab Zarqawi, leader of the foreign-dominated group al Qaeda in Iraq.
I hope the great majority of Iraqi civilians are like "Abdul Aziz."
Hatched by Sachi on this day, December 28, 2005, at the time of 11:58 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/362
The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi
Sachi-chan, why do you think the legacy media desire so desperately to take down the Bush adminstration?
Den Beste-sama has a theory.
The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi at December 29, 2005 8:12 AM
The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist
America's Left is also fighting in this *WAR*, but they have sided with America's enemies. Surely, they do so in order to cover-up the lack of action by Clinton after W showed them what taking action was about. Apparently their *PURE* hatred of W and Republicans and Capitalism has blinded them from recognizing facts or truth. Hopefully, Americans are paying attention to what America's Left is doing, and send the Democrat Party packing in 2006...packing their bags for some remote Third Party Status in future elections. Local, State, and National...so to speak.
i am a newbie at Voting, having Voted for the first during the 2002 mid-terms. The MSM reporting (so-called) on 911 woke me up...it was hateful reporting with a twist of desperation. Such hate and desperation never slowed down, just increased with each passing moment, right up until now.
At this point in America's history, i suspect that the American Left represents a bigger danger than Terrorism or Terrorists...
The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist at December 29, 2005 3:20 PM
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