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For NYT, Killing Civilians Shows How Much You Don’t Want To

06/01/2010 by Peter Hart

The media template for writing about Afghan civilian casualties requires that articles include some reference to the extreme care taken by U.S/NATO forces to avoid killing non-combatants. The practice reached a new low in this New York Times story (5/29/10) about a U.S. drone attack that killed 23 civilians:

The attack, in which three vehicles were destroyed, illustrated the extraordinary sensitivity to the inadvertent killing of noncombatants by NATO forces. Since taking command here last June, General McChrystal has made protection of civilians a high priority, and has sharply restricted airstrikes.

The attack on civilians illustrated the sensitivity to the killing of civilians. What?


Given that the report explains that the intelligence gathering was inadequate–including the fact that evidence about the presence of civilians went unheeded–doesn’t this actually show that there isn’t enough sensitivity around the


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