Get Rethink Afghanistan Updates
Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter Get E-Mail Updates
You can help
Are McChrystal’s Steps to Curb Afghan Civilian Deaths a PR Maneuver?
Posted by ZP Heller on June 23rd, 2009

Though the Pentagon finally took responsibility for the Afghan civilian deaths in last month’s Farah province airstrikes, we’re only seeing minor adjustments toward a deeply flawed military strategy in need of a complete overhaul.

Late last week, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said US troops were responsible for civilian casualties in the May 4 airstrike, during which B-1 bombers unleashed three 2000 lb bombs and five 500 lb bombs on a village compound, killing up to 140 Afghan civilians. Following Mullen’s admission, Gen. Stanley McChrystal announced plans to limit the use of these deadly airstrikes in populated areas. Meanwhile, McChrystal will also issue orders in the coming days to disengage from combat whenever possible in order to reduce the number of civilian casualties. According to McChrystal’s spokesman, Rear Admiral Greg Smith, “Even if you are receiving fire from a structure, the first question you have to ask is: ‘Can I de-escalate the situation by removing my force or relocating it’?”

Shouldn’t commanders on the ground have been asking themselves this question all along? And why has it taken military leaders this long to restrict airstrikes to more uninhabited areas? Either limiting airstrikes and calling for disengagement signals a genuine shift in military strategy, or this is just a PR maneuver on McChrystal’s end–an attempt to save face because the soaring civilian death toll could quickly become inversely proportionate to the war’s popularity. I’m betting on the latter, considering McChrystal’s predecessor, Gen. McKiernan, tried a similiar tactical shift last year when US airstrikes resulted in an inordinate number of civilian deaths. As I noted last week, this could easily be part of the Pentagon’s plan to take greater control of the media narrative regarding the war.

Either way, you can take action and ensure the Pentagon takes further steps to disengage from the war in Afghanistan altogether. By becoming a Peacemaker, you’ll be alerted whenever there are civilian casualties to call our government and protest the current US foreign policy. Then, support Rep. Jim McGovern’s calls for an exit strategy.

Share this:

to “Are McChrystal’s Steps to Curb Afghan Civilian Deaths a PR Maneuver?”

  1. Dennis - Canada says:

    The counter is a great idea and I put in on several blog sites.

    As a Canadian it would be very interesting to see those numbers jump by some inclusions of dollars. Canada, England and Australia along with a number of other countries are fighting in Afghanistan. Last year the Auditor General of Canada tried to do an accounting of the cost of war to Canada. She hit the 22 Billion dollar mark and stated, that there were many more billions, placed under “related expenses” that were unaccountable.

    Is it possible to set up an “international cost of war” counter for only Afghanistan and Iraq? In that way, many of us peace makers, could use the counter to show our fellow citizens the “total” cost of war. We could have easily fed every person on the planet with this wasted money on war.

  2. Dennis - Canada says:

    The counter is a great idea and I put in on several blog sites.

    As a Canadian it would be very interesting to see those numbers jump by some inclusions of dollars. Canada, England and Australia along with a number of other countries are fighting in Afghanistan. Last year the Auditor General of Canada tried to do an accounting of the cost of war to Canada. She hit the 22 Billion dollar mark and stated, that there were many more billions, placed under “related expenses” that were unaccountable.

    Is it possible to set up an “international cost of war” counter for only Afghanistan and Iraq? In that way, many of us peace makers, could use the counter to show our fellow citizens the “total” cost of war. We could have easily fed every person on the planet with this wasted money on war.

Peacemakers take action to lead the charge to end the war. Join forces with the over 100,000 people who make a difference.
FACT SHEETS

FROM DERRICK CROWE'S BLOG
RECENT POSTS

SEARCH THE BLOG
Subscribe via RSS
Become a Peacemaker



Bronze Telly Award
QUESTIONS
For general questions, email us here.
For technical issues regarding this site, contact us here.

PRESS

For Press inquiries, please contact Kim at: bravenewfoundation.press@gmail.com



CREDITS
Director: Robert Greenwald - Executive Director: Jim Miller - Producer: Jason Zaro - Associate Producer: Dallas Dunn, Jonathan Kim, and Kim Huynh - Researcher: Greg Wishnev - Editor: Phillip Cruess - Political Director: Leighton Woodhouse - VP Marketing & Distribution: Laura Beatty - Production Assistant: Monique Hairston

LEGAL
Anyone is allowed to post content on this site, but Brave New Foundation 501(c)(3) is not responsible for that content. We will, however, remove anything unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, racist, or that contains other material that would violate the law. By posting you agree to this.





Brave New Foundation | 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232