micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Sunday, June 02, 2002
David Zucchino has a piece called "'The Americans . . . They Just Drop Their Bombs and Leave'" in the today's Los Angeles Times. The article interviews Afghans who aren't exactly happy with what the United States military has done there. It also looked at the number of Afghan civilians who died as a direct result of U.S. military actions and says:
The Times reviewed more than 2,000 reports of civilian casualties from U.S., British and Pakistani newspapers and international wire services. After eliminating duplicate accounts, the review identified 194 incidents of civilian casualties from the start of the bombing on Oct. 7 until Feb. 28, when the air campaign was largely completed. The reported death toll, including estimates in some cases, was between 1,067 and 1,201. The Times excluded 754 civilian deaths reported by the Taliban but not independently confirmed, as well as 497 deaths that were not identified as either civilian or military.
For the sake of the argument if you add together all three numbers -including the high end figure on the first number-, you get 2,452 civilian deaths which is considerably lowers than the findings of University of New Hampshire Durham professor Marc W. Herold who has estimated "3,000 - 3,400 [October 7, 2001 thru March 2002] civilian deaths" but has been sharply yet thoughtfully critiqued by Lucinda Fleeson in American Journalism Review and sharply and not so thoughtfully critiqued by Iain Murray at Tech Central Station, amongst other places.
A couple of things are worth noting here. Fleeson’s piece makes it clear that civilian deaths in places like Afghanistan are hard to chronicle and just because it can’t be chronicled doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Secondly, the number of indirect civilian deaths may very well be much higher, and equally difficult to quantify, and those people are just as dead. (Perhaps should at least lead to considering the argument Noam Chomsky makes in 9-11 that reviews of U.S. actions should have to consider all of the deaths caused directly and indirectly, intentionally and unintentionally by the U.S. military and other government agencies as that is the standard applied to Mao Tse-tung.)
...the war on terror will not be won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act.
You can agree or disagree with this but it is pretty serious stuff especially when the Bush's "war on terror" has yet to apprehend those Bush has said perpetrated the terrorist acts of September 11.