FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O AND PROFESSIONAL BUSYBODY BARRY O HAS HAD TO WEIGH IN AGAIN -- THIS TIME ON A CALL IN A FOOTBALL GAME.
WHEN ASKED IF NO ONE HAD EVER TOLD THE BITCH TO MIND HIS OWN BUSINESS, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMODEL JOSH EARNEST DECLARED HE DIDN'T BELIEVE THAT THEY HAD.
ASKED IF BARRY O WAS WORKING ON THE ECONOMY, A NERVOUS JOSH EARNEST TRIED TO INTEREST REPORTERS IN BARRY O'S THOUGHTS ON TIDDLYWINKS AND JACKS.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with today's Defense Dept press briefing at the Pentagon moderated by spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby.
Q: Admiral, when you said in response to Nancy's question with numbers, that hundreds of -- we know that hundreds of ISIL fighters have been killed, can you be more specific on that number? And also, can you give us any idea of civilians killed in the airstrike campaign?
KIRBY: I cannot give you a more specific number of -- of how many ISIL fighters. We just know it's hundreds: several hundred. It's not --
I'd like to make two points. First of all, we don't have the ability to -- to count every nose that we shwack [sic]. Number two, that's not the goal. That's not the goal. The less of these guys that are out there, certainly that's the better, but the goal is to degrade and destroy their capabilities.
And we're not getting into an issue of body counts. And that's why I don't have that number handy. I wouldn't -- I wouldn't have asked my staff to give me that number before I came out here. It's simply not a relevant figure.
On civilian casualties, what I know is that CENTCOM, Central Command, is investigating several, what they believe to be credible allegations of possible civilian casualties. I don't know all the details of that. I would point you to Central Command. I know that they are actively investigating what they believe to be at least a few incidents of civilian causalities that they think, you know, warrant further investigation, that they have found credible to investigate. On their own, they've done this. But again, I'd point you to Central Command for more detail on that.
And if I could just editorialize a second, I mean, this is something we always take seriously. We are very mindful of trying to mitigate the risk to civilians every time we operate, everywhere we operate. And so when we do believe that we've had occasion to cause collateral damage or hurt, kill civilians, we take it seriously and we look into it. It matters to us.
Of the above remarks, AFP points out, "The comments marked the first time the US military has acknowledged that the air war may have exacted a toll on civilians." Kate Brannen (Foreign Policy) offers:
Depending on whether any civilian casualties are confirmed -- and where they may have happened -- these new investigations could move the debate around whether U.S. troops need to be moved closer to the battlefield, said Paul Scharre, a former Army Ranger. He worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2008 to 2013 on intellligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance policies, among other issues, before joining the Center for a New American Security.
Some critics of the Obama administration’s strategy against the Islamic State have called for more air power, describing the current airstrikes as “pinpricks.” But to unleash more bombs on Iraq or Syria without inadvertently killing civilians would most likely require U.S. troops to move closer to the fight.
And that's the thing about selling war -- those who do can always use anything to sell even more of it. "You say we're killing civilians? Well the answer is for us to up our involvement! Ground troops will save civilians!"
Sadly, there are many who will go along with that claim -- despite the fact that the years 2003 through 2011 in Iraq, with massive numbers of US troops on the ground -- did not create a safety zone for civilians.
The point Kirby raised about civilian deaths kind of got smoothed over in press reports.
Probably because this press lives to protect itself.
The issue isn't just that there may have been civilian deaths.
There was another important comment -- one that reflects on the press so they prefer to bury it.
Kirby noted, "First of all, we don't have the ability to -- to count every nose that we shwack [sic]."
The US government -- with all its military might, its Special Ops and CIA in Iraq, et al -- can't "count every nose that we whack."
Yet, day after day, the claims by the US government and/or the Iraqi government as to how many 'militants,' 'Da'ash,' 'terrorists,' what have you are treated as fact and repeated as such.
Not only can they not "count every nose," they can't guarantee that the dead were who they claim they were.
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