CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Where are the civilian casualties?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Where are the civilian casualties?

Has anyone read significant reports of civilian casualties? There seem to be few reports. Also, few civilians appear on any of the TV shots I see. Could be: 1. US is avoiding civilian casualties, and doing a darn fine job. 2. US is effectively controlling the media coverage to avoid images of civilian casualties -- but reports of them would still trickle out, via Al-Jazeera or elsewhere. 3. Insurgents have not been successful in using human shields. Perhaps because the remaining civilians are sympathetic to the cause in some way. Doesn't help your cause to kill your own supporters, or cause their deaths. 4. All of the above. You would think we would hear a story of a missile going astray, the wrong building being hit, etc. So far, very little of this.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. You are on my favorites now ....

November 9, 2004 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger cjr said...

Hum. Many civilian casualties. Weak resistance. Some commentator are saying most of the insurgents left before the start of the battle. An alternate theory that I havent heard mentioned is that maybe there really werent that many to begin with.

November 9, 2004 at 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw a clip on NBC News w/ Tom Brokaw of a group of about 5 women walking across a field to escape the fighting. Then on PBS (Newshour) I saw the same exact clip with the same women. It was from ITN. That is all I've seen.

November 9, 2004 at 6:37 PM  
Blogger Obsidian said...

Good question. A few thoughts...

*If* there are 50,000 civilians left in the city, and *if* the insurgents are not specifically trying to protect them (e.g. by moving them into a safe area and then completely avoiding that area), then a large number of civilians will be killed in this environment, even if US troops never miss and never fire at the wrong target. All it takes is one insurgent popping up to fire a RPG at US troops from a building occupied by a family... the response is a couple of tank rounds... no building and no family, a nightmare scenario.

What is wrong with these assumptions? Perhaps there are much fewer than 50,000 civilians left? Quite possible. Given the typical modus operandi of Zarqawi's men, they would certainly a) prevent civilians from leaving, and b) use them as shields during the fighting. This is standard operating procedure for Al Quaeda.

However, perhaps the local fighters were strongly opposed to that idea, and so the civilians did leave or were moved to a quiet area? I don't know.

What is almost too terrible to contemplate, however, is the following scenario: 5-10,000 civilians herded into the "final redoubt" of the jihadis. Perhaps the local fighters are told this is to "protect them". In reality, however, they are sitting on top of a large prepared bomb (or chemical weapons, etc). As U.S. troops close in, the hardcore jihadis set it off and go out in a blaze of glory, killing all the civilians as well. In the confusion, everybody thinks that the U.S. troops are responsible for killing everyone. I get a cold sweat even thinking about that. A huge tragedy and a propaganda victory for the enemy. Unfortunately, I would not put it beyond them... they are ruthless enough to do that. The question is, do they have the capability to do it, and do it without U.S. recon and special forces noticing what is going on and stopping them in time?

Argh.

November 9, 2004 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Obsidian said...

Further thoughts... the insurgents in Fallujah have always released inflated, implausible casualty numbers (such as the 1500 claim from the attack this summer). Yes, the seizure of the hospital will prevent such numbers being released by an authoritative source (such as the hospital director, perhaps acting under duress). But we have certainly seen that some people from inside have the ability to communicate with the outside... some of the networks are getting stories from local stringers within Fallujah. Why are they not feeding casualty numbers as well? Perhaps they are, but the networks are not reporting them - possibly under pressure from the U.S. military command.

November 9, 2004 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger Geochem said...

MSM says not many insurgents killed so far, they must have all left. Not that I believe anything I see on the news. If they all left then who's shooting at us?

November 9, 2004 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

I don't believe there are any "civilians" left in Fallujah. Anyone who wanted to leave had ample opportunity, including illegal combatants. The media constantly portrays enemy combatants and sympathizers
as "civilians". The media can't be trusted. The BBC's "source" in Fallujah is clearly a terrorist supporter. Why we allow our enemies to use "our" media against us is puzzling. Godspeed to US forces.

November 9, 2004 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Regarding the BBC's "Falluja correspondent", I've also seen some goofy stuff from Reuters. Reuters correspondent reported a downed US helicopter in the NE of Falluja. The story quickly disappeared.

Xinhau (China) reported someone claiming to have 35 US troops held hostage. Nothing ever became of that, either.

November 9, 2004 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger USMC_Vet said...

..."I saw a clip on NBC News w/ Tom Brokaw of a group of about 5 women walking across a field to escape the fighting."...

Wish I had seen that & heard the script read at the time...

Just strikes me...walking...to avoid fighting...

Walking? Who would walk? Wouldn't they be 'fleeing'? Was that a word used to describe it? And were they indeed walking?

Forgive me for doubting NBC & PBS.

...Has nothing to do with nothing (my post) beyond MSM suspicions...

November 9, 2004 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger SPC said...

I doubt that MSM will try to fight with all its propanda memes (ie 'civilian deaths', 'arbitrary destruction of infrastructure and family homes', 'growing grassroot support for the insurgents', 'street fighter' glorification, American casualties, et al) right now.

Fallujah is already too closely connected with American longanimity and basic necessity in peoples minds. The opponents of a strong respond to terrorism will look out for a 'weaker target' to let all their defeatism break lose again.

November 10, 2004 at 3:48 AM  

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