Friday, February 19, 2010

Bombing Civilians

Lara M. Dadkhah, who apparently is an “intelligence analyst,” although for or with whom The New York Times does not say, has an op-ed in that paper yesterday that rather stunningly asserts that we are not doing a sufficient amount of bombing civilians in Afghanistan. Emphasis added by me,

So in a modern refashioning of the obvious — that war is harmful to civilian populations — the United States military has begun basing doctrine on the premise that dead civilians are harmful to the conduct of war. The trouble is, no past war has ever supplied compelling proof of that claim.

To me this is an example of a danger of all of the “war” rhetoric that is being flung around; things like, “we are a nation at war” and “we are fighting two wars.” We tend to lose sight of just who we are at war with.

In conducting war against Germany in the 1940’s, we were attempting to defeat the nation of Germany. That nation and everyone, everything, in it was our enemy or belonged to our enemy and, as such was legitimately subject to death and destruction.

We are not at war with Afghanistan. Killing the people of that nation, destroying their homes and their infrastructure would be one thing if we were at war with them, but we are not. We are fighting a war against someone else in their country.

Dadkhah is suggesting, in effect, “We killed German civilians when fighting Germany and it was not harmful to the conduct of that war, so killing civilians in Afghanistan is okay, too.“ It is not a valid comparison, and it is utterly absurd to suggest that killing unarmed civilians of a nation with which we are not at war is not harmful to our interests.

Far from needing “compelling proof” of an assertion about “dead civilians,” it seems blindingly obvious to anyone with an IQ of more than two digits that when one is trying to secure the cooperation of the indigenous population, dropping bombs on their houses and killing them is “harmful to the conduct” of that ambition.

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