Always About The Body Count

I remember back during my days of “blood and mud”, the Vietnam War, the big deal of the day was the body count of the bad guys from the day’s action….they were reported and used to justify so many other things that the brass wanted to do….

The concept of body count has lost some of its allure these days….instead of a high body count the government downplays as much of the deaths as possible….to the point of actually lying to the American people…..

The Pentagon’s transparency in its fight against overseas extremists is being questioned after a Military Times investigation revealed perhaps thousands of secret airstrikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria were never publicly disclosed. The US Air Force has an open-source database tapped by Congress, analysts, and others to figure out how costly war is, both on the financial and human fronts. But, per the Times investigation, nearly 460 Afghanistan airstrikes were carried out in 2016 by US combat aircraft, strikes that weren’t included in the database. Another major discrepancy, among others: A public Pentagon report on Iraq and Syria strikes has apparently left out 6,000 or so strikes since 2014. US Central Command, which supervises engagement in those three countries, isn’t sure yet how long these omissions have occurred and couldn’t give the Times a full accounting of all airstrikes.

These findings have critics worrying the military either hasn’t been forthcoming or has been sloppy on other data as well, including how many service members have been lost; what the fight against ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and related offshoots is costing US taxpayers; and what our real progress against these groups is. But one US military official tells the Times that while some of the tracking omissions are “really weird,” it’s “unequivocally” not an attempt at subterfuge. “That is just the way it has been tracked in the past,” the official says. And another Army official at the senior level notes some close-to-ground maneuvers shouldn’t really be classified as airstrikes. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, says, security reasons aside, “facts regarding the number of airstrikes and their civilian toll should always be disclosed promptly and faithfully.”

This is the technique now…..under report the deaths in that way they can keep any anti-war movement to a minimum…and it has been working….

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8 thoughts on “Always About The Body Count

  1. “Army official at the senior level notes some close-to-ground maneuvers shouldn’t really be classified as airstrikes.” Wow. If it’s off the “ground”, as in literal air between the ground and the device, it’s an airstrike. Using that type of intelligence, I can tell the officer “I go faster between the signs and slow down to the speed limit when I can see and am near them.” You can imagine how that might go over.

    1. Interesting how a body count in Vietnam had to be high to prove we wee winning and now they avoid using the proper figures….enjoy your day….chuq

  2. I’d posit there are more than just air strikes, or deaths on both sides of any issue, we are not hearing about. Anyone in a position of military leadership has been exposed to Sun Tzu’s Art of War, which teaches, at the outset, “All war is based on deception.” When added to the simple truth of the fact that politicians lie, as a matter of course, (in modern times, they believe it is part of their job description…), I don’t think it is reasonable to expect hearing the truth from any of them, unless forced to admit it by being faced with evidence that cannot be denied.

    It’s all broken, but, nobody is willing to face that simple truth. i guess that, sadly, is human nature, denying reality in favor of belief, to save the effort of thinking for themselves.

    I have to side with Henry Mencken, who, back in the beginning of the 20th century, said, “I regard all governments as inherently evil, and, trying to reform them is largely a waste of time.”…

    All we can do is protect ourselves; & as I am fond of saying, all you can do is all you can do….

    gigoid, the dubious

  3. During the Vietnam War, I always found body count to be a strange concept. It used to get reported on the news over here, as if it was somehow relevant. As you say, the reverse is now true, and we have soldiers on trial in the UK for shooting Taliban fighters who had already been wounded. Yet they do not put aircrew on trial for dropping bombs on domestic dwellings, and killing dozens of civilians.
    I wouldn’t want to be in the military these days, that’s for sure.
    Regards, Pete.

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