Oâ€™Reilly Ignorant About Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan
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FOX continues to distort the realities of the war in Afghanistan. A couple of nights ago, Bill O’Reilly called Afghan President Karzai’s appeal for US forces to limit civilian casualties in Afghanistan “insulting.” He was referring specifically to a recent US military air strike that killed 15 Taliban fighters but also killed 16 civilians.
According to O’Reilly, “US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are risking their lives to protect the Afghan people from the Taliban and al-Qaeda.” That of course, is only partly true. Our soldiers are risking their lives to protect our own interests in what has become the central front in the war on terror. Remember, President Bush initially waged war in Afghanistan to smoke the evil-doers involved in the 9/11 attacks out of their holes, and not to defend the Afghan people from the Taliban or al-Qaeda. So protecting the Afghan people is more like a secondary or incidental reason for our military presence there.
But then, O’Reilly got condescending (big surprise!). He claimed Karzai obviously doesn’t understand that collateral damage is ever-present in war time, and that “without us, his head is on a stick.” Once again, O’Reilly has displayed his profound ignorance for a precarious situation in the Middle East. Thousands of innocent people are dying at our hands, and even Defense Secretary Robert Gates — who is calling for military escalation — has admitted publicly that civilian casualties are causing “ enormous harm” to US interests in Afghanistan.
As Think Progress assessed, “Ignoring the increasing levels of “collateral damage” — as O’Reilly appears to recommend — is not only unethical, it would further empower the very forces that U.S. and NATO forces are attempting to defeat.”
ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.