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Saturday, July 07, 2007


Another one (hundred) bites the dust

In Afghanistan, NATO airstrikes have killed another 108 civilians. I love the way that Reuters includes this matter-of-fact explanation in the article:
Western unwillingness to accept casualties among their own soldiers and a shortage of ground troops means commanders often turn to air power to beat the Taliban, and that almost inevitably leads to civilians deaths, military analysts say.
There are a few errors in that statement, however. First, an error of commission - the idea that these airstrikes are somehow "beating the Taliban." Second, an error of omission - air strikes only "inevitably" lead to civilian deaths when they're combined with a callous disregard for the nature of the target, a complete (and fundamentally racist) devaluation of the lives of non-"Western" people.

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