Thursday, January 14, 2010

Notice how they never say how many civilians total were killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan last year

Senate Democrats leave Kabul still wary of U.S. troop surge
In this story, about a tour of Afghanistan by Carl Levin and Al Franken, a lot of space is devoted to civilian casualties:

"A new United Nations report on civilian casualties Wednesday painted a stark picture of the fighting, and put the onus on the Taliban for a 14 percent rise in civilian deaths. Of the 2,412 civilians killed last year, the U.N. attributed 70 percent to the Taliban, and 25 percent to the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan security forces.

The Taliban were responsible for 1,630 civilian deaths, up from 1,160 in 2008, the report said. Of those, 1,054 were victims of suicide bombings and improvised explosive devices, while 225 were victims of assassinations and executions.

...

By contrast, the Afghan government and its U.S.-led backers had taken "strategic and specific steps" that reduced the number of civilian deaths by 28 percent from 2008. It said 359 civilians were killed in aerial attacks, or 61 percent of civilian deaths attributed to pro-government forces."

They don't say that the U.S. killed a little under 600 civilians last year. 359 is a nice round number, just add one and you get 360, which is six times six or sixty percent of 600. Whipping out the calculator we get 834 civilians killed in 2008, a number that's also not given. It's interesting that the Taliban's killing gets such specific treatment while the U.S.'s doesn't. Surely the people writing the article are aware of what balance is, in this case balance in the act of not concealing one side's murdering while being gung ho about featuring the other side's murderous actions.

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