In keeping with the McCain campaign’s announced strategy of smearing Sen. Barack Obama, here’s an ad from the McCain team portraying Obama as slandering the
In keeping with the McCain campaign’s announced strategy of smearing Sen. Barack Obama, here’s an ad from the McCain team portraying Obama as slandering the troops in Afghanistan.
Not a word of this is true:
It’s basically self-refuting to see the McCain campaign clip off Obama’s full Afghanistan comments from August — “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there” — which is an obvious call to bolster troop levels.
The concern about civilian casualties were echoed by America-haters like as Hamid Karzai and George W. Bush, as this AP factcheck points out.
To their ranks, let’s add Gen. McKiernan, from his press conference at the Newseum last week, when he discussed the counterproductivity of civilian casualties to counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.
This is a transcript from my voice recorder:
[Shows a slide of himself at a meeting of Afghan villagers] The picture in the bottom center, if I could dwell on that for just a second, yes, that’s myself with my back turned to you, at a province that doesn’t need to be named, and it has to do with civilian casualties. It’s an episode — and I’d like to dwell on civilian casualties with you for a minute.
We take great measures to try to avoid civilian casualties. But when a mistake is made and inadvertently there is a loss of civilian life unintentionally, we try to make sure that we get out with the truth as quickly as we can. We have a hard time beating the insurgent to the story because he’s not concerned with the truth.
But in this particular case I went to this location and talked with a group of tribal elders in an area where we think we inadvertently caused some civilian casualties. And to tell you what an incredible sort of population lives in Afghanistan, that fellow sitting in the middle of the picture there, he lost seven members of his family.
Yet he came and talked to me that day, allowed me to apologize to him, allowed us to have a shura, allowed us to talk and, at the end of the day, he professed that he did not want the Taliban back in power — that he supported the presence of international forces.
I don’t think that would happen in our country, in the United States of America. I don’t think someone that lost seven members of their family would come sit down with somebody in the military and even have a discussion.
But it tells you about the resiliency of that population. But I hope you ask me something else about civilian casualties, because that’s something we try to go to great lengths to avoid in that country. …
[Reporter asks question about civilian casualties]… First of all, it’s important that ISAF, that the military, try to come out with the truth as quickly as possible. But we inherently play catch-up to anybody that reports a number or an event. We do try at least to get a truthful accounting in the media.
It’s very difficult to come up with numbers in Afghanistan after there’s been a military operation. A lot of that’s cultural, because people generally are taken away and buried quite quickly in that culture, so it’s not like you can exploit a site for a period of time and come up with an accurate number, so a lot of it’s based on estimates.
And then, finally, I won’t go into specifics on rules of engagement, but I’ll say that principles such as positive identification of targets to the best of our ability, the concept of proportionality, precise planning considerations on type of weapons and use of weapons — all of that is factored in, all of that is attempted to be disciplined in units before they even come to the theater.
But when you fight a counterinsurgency, by the nature of an insurgency, where the enemy mixes in with the population, it is virtually impossible to completely avoid civilian casualties in that kind of environment.
McCain’s new slogan maybe ought to be Dishonor Before Death.
MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals
BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks
MA-Sen: 66 to 19
BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary
MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown
BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to
MA-Sen: Loyal Democrats Grouse About Coakley
BOSTON -- A little while after noon, a steady crowd of Democratic voters streamed into the Cathedral High School Gymnasium to cast votes for their party’s
MA-Sen: Brown Wins
BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie
MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’
Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of
MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown
BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,
Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation
Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of
Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket
Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.
No Experience Necessary
Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?