Flickr Photo by isafmedia
Ahead of the current offensive by U.S. and NATO forces in Marjah, the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an intergovernmental military alliance assisting the U.S. heavily in efforts to control and secure Afghanistan, issued these words for civilians: "Keep your head down." These words along with other messages warning of civilian casualties were effective; many civilians fled the area in and around Marjah.
Civilian casualties have become NATO's worst enemy. Reports of casualties constantly call into question the mission in Afghanistan. Suppressing news of civilian casualties or discrediting reports of civilian casualties has become key to the success of NATO in Afghanistan.
It's not hard to understand why NATO would tell Afghanis to keep their head down. This gives NATO political cover to commit any kind of acts they want to commit. Now, if civilians get killed, NATO can say civilians were warned.
But, isn't informing civilians
that they should "keep [their] head down" tantamount to issuing a disclaimer
that you might read on a box of food or a bottle of pills? Isn't it like the "Caution: Hot" warning on McDonald's coffee cups, a warning printed not because most people are too stupid to understand coffee is hot but because McDonald's doesn't want to be sued?