Sarah Sewell, program director at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government wrote an Op Ed on November 18, 2002 entitled Minimizing Civilian Casualties in Iraq:
"In this season of planning, leaking, and debating strategies to attack Iraq, one thing is certain. Civilian casualties have become an Achilles heel of any Western use of force. If the United States cannot effectively demonstrate its concern for civilian life as it conducts military operations, it will pay a heavy price.
The United States has reason to be proud. It has vastly improved its weapons since the Vietnam War and has pioneered methods of estimating and minimizing civilian casualties in precision air attacks on fixed targets. Minimizing harm to civilians is part of the planning and conduct of US military operations."
It is interesting how the realities of Bush's Iraq War actually have played out differently than all the US strategies piously presented in an OP Ed. This picture leaps beyond all academic theory and assumptions about how good we have become at minimizes collateral damage or civilian casualties with our precision war tactics. The war words somehow seem so distant from any of us----this picture helps all of us to look at the faces, human cost and tragedy of war --- it makes us look in the eye of anguish that has been inflicted ---- what we see is an Iraqi family grieving for a 3-year-old girl killed in Fallujah in the Fall of 2003 when US forces battled insurgents. (CSM, Laszlo Balough/Reuters - March 31, 2004)
In a writing I saw by JMCMasters, he invites us to get a close-up look at the results of our US execution against our precision plan:
..."Let's take a little peek at a city named Fallujah. The population count for this city that we bombed was 500,000 in 2003. Here is a link to some recent pictures, doesn't look like the precision smart-bombing worked well. According to a report from Johns Hopkins University, 100,000 civilians have died as a result of the war in Iraq. The report goes on to state that most casualties came after major fighting in May of 2003 with an astonishing two-thirds of the overall civilian deaths in Fallujah (roughly 66,666)."
Today, now two years have gone by. Imagine how many times the experience of the Iraqi family has been duplicated and multiplied with our bombs and determination to win an ill-conceived war at all costs. To date, President Bush has escaped any close scrutiny for his poor judgment and war crimes against humanity ---- more importantly, his collateral casualties, for whom he hasn't even the decency to acknowledge, continue to go uncounted in still another demonstration of his authentic insensitivity for human life and dignity for others. How are the deaths he has caused any different than those of Saddam??? …and what about the mounting military deaths whose blood he also wears on his hands.
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