Collateral damage in Wall Street, Afghan wars
Bankers on Wall Street, babies in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon finally concluded on Wednesday that U.S. troops did not kill seven Afghan civilians in an August air strike.
Actually, it was 33, including babies and toddlers, the U.S. Central Command finally acknowledged after being forced to investigate what it initially called a "successful" raid.
Oops. But the Pentagon got its mimeographs cranking almost immediately to try to contain the damage. An AP story carried by the BBC and other outlets reports:
Now for the damage control. In a press release today entitled "Official Reaffirms Commitment to Preventing Civilian Casualties," the Pentagon's Donna Miles puts this bloodbath through the spin cycle:
Working hard to stanch this gaping wound, U.S. military officials fire at will:
Pentagon flack Bryan Whitman: "No other military in the world goes to a greater extent to prevent civilian casualties. This is something that we take very seriously, and when we have allegations of loss of innocent life, we investigate it."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "We're very concerned about this; it's a high priority for us. We work at that hard, work at it harder, and then take another look to see what more we can do to limit innocent people who are killed when we go after our enemies."
Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan: "That certainly is one of my top challenges, to try to make sure we have the right measures in place to minimize the possibility of civilian casualties."
OK, OK, we get the point. But would it kill you to at least use the words "sorry" or "regret"?
At least we know similar tragedies won't happen again, because at this moment, Gates is in Macedonia trying to drum up some troops for the increasingly grim Afghan War.
The Pentagon story "Gates Urges Southeastern European Nations to Send Troops to Afghanistan" notes:
Yes, if you want peacekeepers, you naturally turn to the Balkans.
Or maybe send the Balkans troops to Wall Street and investment bankers to Afghanistan. Nothing's working in either place.