by John Hawkins | July 22, 2002 12:53 pm
Civilian Casualties In Afghanistan: There is an almost stunning lack of perspective in yesterday’s headlining NYT article,
“Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead.”
“KABUL, Afghanistan ( news – web sites) The American air campaign in Afghanistan, based on a high-tech, out-of-harm’s way strategy, has produced a pattern of mistakes that has killed hundreds of Afghan civilians….”
In a war where the enemy did not wear uniforms, deliberately used civilians as shields, & regularly hid men and equipment in areas inhabited mainly by non-combatants, the fact that we killed less than 500 civilians is a MIRACLE. Not only could no other nation or collection of nations done as well, but no other world power could have even won the war by now. If the EU, Russia, or China would have been fighting this war instead of us (and our allies), chances are they’d still be bogged down in an ugly guerilla war with thousands of civilian casualties and no end in sight. On the other hand, not only have we successfully toppled the Taliban, but we’ve helped install a Democratic government, and millions of refugees from the Taliban controlled Afghanistan are actually returning home.
Just to give you a little perspective on how another country might have handled Afghanistan, here’s some info on Soviet battle tactics…
“Mujahideen guerrillas, though, enjoyed popular support and were fed and sheltered by rural villagers. The Soviets decided to cut off this support by forcing the people from the countryside. The Red Air Force bombed farms, irrigation systems and orchards. It dropped mines on fields and pastures, and machine-gunned livestock.
Of Afghanistan’s 17 million people, some 5.5 million fled to refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran. Another 2 million fled to shantytowns crowded around Afghanistan’s cities. Without the villagers, the guerrillas now had to carry their own food as they moved into battle.”
So how many casualties di the Soviets inflict on the Afghans? According to the VFW article I quoted above it’s “(at) least 1.3 million.” That shines a new light on the “flaws” in the way we conducted the war doesn’t it?
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