Study by U.S. Professor Claims 3,500
Afghan Civilians Killed by American Bombs and Missiles
Mass Media Completely Ignores
December 11, 2001
I've previously criticized the U.S.
mass media for ignoring many credible accounts of civilian casualties
reported in the foreign press, and more importantly, for failing to conduct
any systematic investigation of the entire bombing campaign in Afghanistan
to determine and evaluate the overall extent of civilian deaths and injuries
caused by U.S. bombs and missiles.
Yesterday Marc W. Herold,
Economics, International Relations, and Women's Studies at the University of
New Hampshire, released
a study which shows that U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan have killed more
than 3,500 civilians. [The data is available here.]
Professor Herold compiled his
data from "British, Canadian, and Australian newspapers; Indian
newspapers, especially The Times of India; three Pakistani daily newspapers;
the Singapore News; Afghan Islamic Press; Agence France Press; Pakistan News
Service; Reuters; BBC News Online; Al Jazeera; and a variety of other
reputable sources, including the United Nations and other relief
I obviously cannot personally
vouch for the accuracy of Professor Herold's figures. But two things
First, since the U.S.
suffered, at latest estimate, 3,300 killed on September 11, and we have at
least 11 times the population of Afghanistan, 300 civilian deaths in
Afghanistan would be proportionally equivalent to the U.S. death toll.
So even if Professor Herold's figures are off -- indeed, even if they are
off by as much as 10 times -- the impoverished, war-ravaged Afghan
population has already suffered at least a WTC-level of mass murder from
U.S. bombing. Of course, to the extent the study is accurate, the U.S.
has inflicted the equivalent of up to 10 WTC death tolls on the people of
Second, the U.S. mass media
are deliberately ignoring this study. Indeed, The Washington Post
chose today to run a story
with the opposite implication, at least as applied to one Afghan city:
"Kandahar Bombs Hit Their Marks
, Few Civilian Deaths Evident."
Is the press afraid to report
this study because doing so would anger the Bush administration?
Does reporting this study not
appeal to the media because they would then have an obligation to expend
time and resources to check its accuracy?
The mass media in this
country has truly abnegated its obligation to accurately report the news,
let alone be a watchdog over the government. The media seem content to
merely play a cheerleading role in this aspect of the war on
terrorism. And the American public has been left dangerously
uninformed as the result.