• Neta Crawford

    Guest Author

    Neta Crawford is a College of Arts & Sciences professor and chair of political science and?codirector of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Profile

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There are 6 comments on POV: US Military’s Plummeting Collateral Damage

    1. Because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. There is no doubt that both sides in Syria are evil and our leaders have more information about it than we do. They believe that arming Al Quaeda is killing 2 birds with one stone. Hopefully, the rebels and Al Quaeda will kill each other.

  1. This piece fails to mention the contributions of Al-Queda and The Taliban to the civilian body counts. This piece also conveniently fails to mention that senior leaders of both organizations surround themselves with innocent civilians like the petty cowards that they are. Ms Crawford clearly has not walked the streets of Kabul, visited the outlying bases in Nangahar or Logar provinces nor seen the brutality of the fighting there. Yes, all needless deaths are regrettable and should be avoided, but from the comforts of an office or dorm room overlooking Commonwealth Avenue or The Charles, it’s easy to forget that a moment wasted second guessing one’s own defense and self preservation can mean the difference between stepping off of a plane at a homecoming or being carried off the plane in a metal box.

    1. you are correct. I have seen numerous videos that show Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq executing civilians via decapitation; just because they are not Sunni or have thought to have supported Assad. I have never seen SAA (Syrian Arab Army) or US troops doing that.

  2. One other comment based on the headline to this piece. There’s always something to cheer about on every Veterans’ Day; the Veterans who have chosen to serve with honor, integrity and distinction to keep us all safe. What other reason do we really need to cheer on such a day?

  3. Never in human history has a military force demonstrated such a high regard for the minimization of civilian casualties, often at the cost of exposing American military personnel to a heightened risk to their own personal safety. This has been our policy from Day One of this conflict, although – unlike President Obama – General Franks, Senator McCain and Secretary Rumsfeld were too honest to pretend that there can be such a thing as “zero-tolerance” for civilian casualties in war. That this is news to Professor Crawford is troubling, as is her uncritical citation of questionable and biased accounts of civilian casualties. The second bombing of the Red Cross building occurred in the first days of the war, and was a targeting mistake caused by human error. It is not in any way “unbelievable” to anyone who has the common sense to consider the inherent complexity of conducting precision strikes on particular buildings in Afghanistan – which ironically is a tactic necessitated by our military’s commitment to avoid collateral damage. Similarly, the US military investigated the allegations of having caused mass civilian casualties at Azizabad in 2008 and found them to be false. I did not have to do any special research to discover these facts – they are in the articles that Professor Crawford linked to. She is of course entitled to believe that Afghan accounts are more credible than those of the US military, but she might at least openly admit that she is doing that.

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