"Civilian" casualties in Iraq

Mickey Kaus:

Unreliable Narrator: Andrew Sullivan hosts a British video report that he says shows

U.S soldiers watching as their Iraqi Army colleagues - Shia - brutally beat Sunni civilians to near-death, as U.S. soldiers hoop and holler in support.

The video shows Iraqi troops beating three men who'd been caught with a bag full of mortars in their car. I don't defend the beatings, which at least one American tries fecklessly to stop, but calling people captured with mortars "civilians" is a bit of a distortion, no? Nor do they appear to be beaten "to near death"--that's just a Sullivanian embellishment.** Does he even watch the videos he hosts? ...

**--Nor can the Iraqi soldiers hear the Americans hooping and hollering in their vehicle many yards away--a non-trivial distinction, when you think about it....
Too often the media in Iraq makes the same mistake Sullivan makes in describing the men in this car as civilian. Often enemy fighters receiving treatment at hospitals or taken to a morgue are described as civilians when it fact they are enemy troops who have disguised themselves as civilians. Why people like Sullivan and others in the media fall for the ruse is probably tied to their prejudice against the war.

There are basically three categories of "civilian" casualties in Iraq. The first is the noncombatants targeted for killing and mass murder by the enemy with car bombs and human bomb attacks. The second are civilians killed because they were confused with enemy forces who were camouflaged as civilians. The third are enemy troops who were killed while camouflaged as civilians. The media rarely distinguishes between the three.


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