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August 19, 2007



AP Report August 14


A check of the facts shows that Western forces have been killing civilians at a faster rate than the insurgents have been killing civilians.

The U.S. and NATO say they don't have civilian casualty figures, but The Associated Press has been keeping count based on figures from Afghan and international officials. Tracking civilian deaths is a difficult task because they often occur in remote and dangerous areas that are difficult to reach and verify.

As of Aug. 1, the AP count shows that while militants killed 231 civilians in attacks in 2007, Western forces killed 286. Another 20 were killed in crossfire that can't be attributed to one party.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his concern about the civilian deaths during a meeting last week with President Bush.

Bush said he understands the agony that Afghans feel over the loss of innocent lives and that he is doing everything he can to protect them. He said the Taliban are using civilians as human shields and have no regard for their lives.

"The president rightly expressed his concerns about civilian casualty," Bush said of Karzai. "And I assured him that we share those concerns."

Pat Allen

Let me thank the Obama campaign, or whoever was commenting on their behalf, for their response (see below) to my post. The speed at which they did it was impressive.

Three comments on the response: First, as others have said, it was interesting how quickly the Associated Press issued this press release in support of the Obama campaign. Just another example of the objective, non-partisan mainstream media at work.

Second, the number of casualties is not the point, even assuming the Associated Press can keep an accurate count of civilians killed by terrorists in Afghanistan. The point is Obama was effectively saying, even if he will now claim he did not mean it that way, that our soldiers, because we do not have enough troops in Afghanistan, are bombing villages and killing civilians without justification.

Third, the preprogrammed response from or behalf of the Obama campaign did not address my third and most important point, which was his mindset. In my opinion, that point still remains.

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