Mike Moran, in a long piece in MSNBC asks Are We Winning Yet?
Among other things, he references the the 3,200 civilian deaths reported by Marc Herold (who actually has the number at over 3,500), and states :
The Pentagon is wisely (and somewhat cynically) [Editor’s note: Those damn cynical buildings again.] mum on the number of civilians killed by the Anglo-American air raids. But conservative estimates by an American bomb assessment expert, Marc Herold of the University of New Hampshire, suggests that at least 3,200 civilians had died as result of the air raids by mid-December. That is not 3,200 Taliban fighters – their casualties appear to have been much higher. Rather, these were 3,200 men, women and children who, like their fellow human beings in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, had nothing to do with the politics of the conflict. What weight does this deserve in American calculations? Certainly, it cannot be ignored.
Perhaps someone should let Mr Moran note that the Pentagon works with hard numbers, not specious reports from unreliable sources (regardless of how many times they may have been repeated in the form of the same AP or Reuters report which appeared in 8 different papers or on Al-Jazeera). I am against civilian casualties (I am also against animal cruelty, heart attacks, and Barry Manilow comeback tours), but the reasons the more respectable media sources (and the cynical building known as the Pentagon) ignore these reports are because they are imprecise, prone to grotesque over-exaggeration, and although he may poo-poo it all he wants, they are not ‘independently corroborated.’ It is hard to be taken seriously when your counting relies on reports that state:
11 October: Two US jets were said to have bombed the mountain village of Karam. The death toll was estimated at between 100 and 160.
13 October: Bombs fell on the Qila Meer Abas neighbourhood, two kilometres south of Kabul airport. Four civilians were reportedly killed.
Reportedly killed? The last time I checked, death was a binary construct, in that you are are, or are not dead. You can not be reportedly dead. It is like being pregnant. You either is, or you isn’t. (A good argument could be made, however, that while physically alive, Alan Dershowitz is brain dead- but I do not think the good Dr. Herold is looking into this).
18 October: Some 47 civilians were said to have been killed when a central market place, Sarai Shamali, near Kandahar, was bombed.
And I have been said to have stunning good looks, a sparkling personality, and a way with women. I think I said it Saturday night after two bottles of damn fine red wine.
Again, not to ignore civilian casualties, of which I am sure there have been some, but excuse me if I refuse to listen to inflated numbers from someone with an ax to grind.
But why stop there. When you are going to be wrong, you might as well go all out. Mr. Moran also states, under a section called FLARE- UPS AND FAILURES, somoething that casual observers of the Middle East might be interested in.
Then there is Israel and the Palestinian Authority, two states led by two men uniquely ill-suited to the subtle challenges of the post-Sept. 11 world.
A.) I was unaware of Palestinian statehood.
B.) Arafat was and is a terrorist. Nothing else matters.