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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/13/10

NATO At War with Civilian Casualties as It Launches Offensive in Afghanistan

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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?

Most people know coffee is a hot drink. Most know war and military occupations are violent and produce resistance from those opposed to the war and occupation. So, NATO can tell innocent civilians that they will be hurt or die if they are in the line of fire or areas where air strikes are going to take place but increases in civilian casualties will still occur.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com
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