Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Matrix of Death

Professor Marc Harold has released his long-awaited study on the Afghanistan war, which features a lengthy discussion of civilian casualties, to coincide with the seven-year anniversary of the beginning of the war.

Highlights include:
  1. Exposing three common subterfuges used to rationalize the killing of Afghan civilians;
  2. Pointing out that Afghan civilians killed by U.S/NATO forces’ direct action since January 1, 2006 now outnumber those who perished in the original U.S. bombing and invasion during the first three months (2001) of the U.S. Afghan war. The overall human toll is far greater than just those killed by direct U.S/NATO actions as it includes all those who died later from injuries, the internally displaced who died in camps, etc.;
  3. Documenting that close air support (CAS) bombing is more deadly to Afghan civilians than was the strategic bombing of Laos and Cambodia;
  4. Revealing that CAS air strikes now account for about 80% of all Afghan civilians who perish at the hands of the U.S. and NATO;
  5. Emphasizing that by relying upon aerial close air support (CAS) attacks, US/NATO forces spare their pilots and ground troops but kill lots of innocent Afghan civilians. Air strikes are 4-10 times as deadly for Afghan civilians as are ground attacks.
  6. Revealing that Human Rights Watch “counts” at best only 50% of the Afghan civilians killed by U.S/NATO actions, whereas the figure for the Associated Press is a mere 33%; moreover neither present verifiable/reproducible disaggregated data thereby violating a basic tenet of social science;
  7. Presenting a unique analysis of compensation/condolence payments made by the United States in eight countries. The United States spent ten times more on saving an Alaskan sea otter after the Exxon Valdez oil spill than in condolence payments to Afghan families for a family member killed by U.S. occupation forces. (link)

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