Collaterial Damage– It Happens

General Joseph Votel defended coalition forces regarding charges they are killing civilians in Afghanistan. “We think the procedures we have in place are good. They work, they help us minimize the effects.” According to recent figures, the Taliban between January through May killed 178 civilians while coalition forces during the same period killed 203.

A guerrilla war invariably results in civilian casualties. The president of Afghanistan has openly protested against excessive killing of civilians by coalition forces and General Votel doesn’t see the need to make changes. One problem is excessive reliance on bombing locations which contain insurgents and civilians. The result of such bombings invariably results in civilian deaths. We learned in Vietnam that high level bombing really can’t distinguish between innocent civilians and insurgent forces. When all is said and done, foot soldiers have to fight in unfavorable situations and the greater the reliance on air power, the larger the number of dead civilians.

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