Let Us Take Another Look At The Numbers

by James Glaser
August 12, 2002

The numbers of civilian deaths in any war is not a subject that governments like to talk about. Those that attack another country would like to dwell on the fact that they used, precision-guided munitions and every effort would be used to minimize civilian causalities. Therefore those governments that attack another country, like America attacking Afghanistan, do not make any attempt to count up those innocent people killed by their actions.

There is always the worry by the aggressor in any war, that charges of "war crimes" will tarnish any victory. A prime example of this is America's tactic of bombing anything moving down any road in southern Afghanistan during November and December of last year. That is a violation of the so called "rules of war." Also if no count of innocent deaths is kept, then the families of those wrongfully killed, will have a much harder time getting compensation to which they are entitled.

Even though the American Government keeps no count, several non-government organizations have. Dexter Filkins of the New York Times made one such report and found that in just 11 incidents 396 Afghan civilians were killed. Immediately, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rebuked him. The American government doesn't want any one looking at how many innocent women and children they kill, it makes them think about those little bodies all bloody and torn apart, as it should.

John Donnelly and Anthony Shadid of the Boston Globe published a report that a survey of just 14 sites produced the deaths of 830 innocent civilians. Fourteen is just a small fraction of the estimated 1000 sites since the October 7th start of bombing. Another report by the Los Angeles Times, came up with a death toll of 1067 and 1201 between October and February.

Reuters News Agency came up with 1000 dead in fourteen incidents. "The Project on Defense Alternatives" a American think tank, states that US bombing in Afghanistan had killed civilians at a rate four times higher than the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. By January 1, 2002, the report calculated between 1000 and 1300 civilians had been killed.

About the most comprehensive study done to date is the one by Marc Herold an American academic, who published in the Guardian of London, under the title "Attempts to Hide the Numbers of Afghan Civilians Killed by US Bombs Are An Affront To Justice" Mr. Herold's survey of civilian deaths for the October to December period totals between 2650 and 2970. Mr. Herold states, "in the eight months since I published my original study, I have updated and corrected my database, and incorporated the civilian deaths resulting from British and US special forces attacks. My most recent figures show that between 3,125 and 3.650 civilians were killed between October 7 and July 31."

There are a lot of reasons not to count all those women, children, infants, the old and just the guy out looking for scrap metal. If you are the Secretary of Defense and have been telling Congress how great those "Precision-guided weapons" are and how you need more money for more, then you don't want to tell them about all those mistakes.

In that same light, you don't want to talk about how you used extremely powerful weapons in "civilian rich" areas. In fact you have been telling how you were going to attack those remote training sites, but you destroyed those in the first two weeks. Also, who wants to talk about bombing cars, bridges, radio stations, and Red Cross compounds, when you were saying that you were only attacking terrorists.

No one wants to talk about those children that we have killed and our government will refute any numbers no matter who comes up with them. Reasons very, but what if those in power had to take personal responsibility for all of those deaths? Did any of these innocent civilians, at the very least 1000, have the right to live? If these people in Washington profess the belief in the pro-life movement, how could they ever admit that America is killing thousands of innocent people.

It all boils down to the fact that George Bush, Donald Rumsfled and the US Congress believe America's right to revenge for the September 11th attack is greater that these thousands of innocent people's right to life. Remember not one terrorist on September 11th was from Afghanistan, but those who did attack us were from countries that have oil, so we could not attack them.

We have for sure killed thousands of innocent people.

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