After six years, the liberation of Afghanistan has become a triumph without victory. The fighting is the greatest it has been since the beginning of the war and more civilians are dying. In fact, 60 Minutes was surprised to hear this: while the enemy has killed hundreds of civilians this year, a similar number of civilians have been killed by American forces. With relatively few troops there, the U.S. and NATO rely on air power. The number of civilians killed in air strikes has doubled.
60 Minutes wondered whether civilian deaths are undermining the effort to win the Afghan people.
You think? This is the part that stood out:
"There's this macabre kind of calculus that the military goes through on every air strike, where they try to figure out how many dead civilians is dead bad guy worth," says Marc Garlasco, who knows the calculus of civilian casualties as well as anyone.[..]
"Our number was 30. So, for example, Saddam Hussein. If you're gonna kill up to 29 people in a strike against Saddam Hussein, that's not a problem," Garlasco explains. "But once you hit that number 30, we actually had to go to either President Bush, or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld."
Garlasco says, before the invasion of Iraq, he recommended 50 air strikes aimed at high-value targets -- Iraqi officials.
But he says none of the targets on the list were actually killed. Instead, he says, "a couple of hundred civilians at least" were killed.
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