We're guessing that this AP dispatch from Kabul won't make its way into a Barack Obama campaign speech:
NATO: Taliban making false accusations
Less than a month after the Democratic Presidential candidate accused U.S. forces of "air-raiding" Afghan villages--and inflicting civilian casualties--NATO officials are (again) pointing out something that should be patently obvious. The Taliban routinely lie about civilian deaths and collateral damage (surprise, surprise) as part of their propaganda effort to discredit coalition forces:
The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan accused Taliban militants Monday of falsely reporting civilian casualties to discredit Afghan and international forces.
The U.S.-led coalition made the claim Monday after Afghan elders alleged that up to 18 civilians were killed late Sunday by coalition troops in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold.
Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman, a coalition spokeswoman, said credible intelligence suggested the claims were fabricated as part of a propaganda war. "The insurgents continue to follow their pattern of falsely reporting civilian casualties," she said.
NATO-led forces, whose operations in Helmand are being supported by U.S.-led coalition troops and aircraft, insist that no noncombatants were killed in the fighting. The claims could not be independently verified due to the remoteness of the area where the clash took place.
Less than two weeks ago, we noted that the Taliban's exaggerated claims of civilian casualties were hardly new, and in some cases, the terrorists were actually responsible for their deaths. In at least two engagements earlier this year, Taliban fighters used Afghan villagers as human shields, and after one battle, they removed their own casualties, leaving the bodies of dead civilians behind.
Fortunately, the Taliban's propaganda efforts have had no impact on NATO's military campaign (so far). Contrary to Obama's claims, allied airpower in Afghanistan has been carefully employed, and the results have been impressive. While the AP claims that the number of attacks in Afghanistan has increased, they fail to report that virtually all of those strikes are ineffective and have resulted in significant casualties among insurgents. For example, recent Taliban assaults on Firebase Anaconda were abject failures; massing against the fortified allied position--and operating in broad daylight--the terrorists were quickly repulsed, suffering at least 30% KIA in their first attack.
But, as we've observed in the past, the Taliban's battle plans--and continuous propaganda efforts-- are equally aimed at the western media (and political elites), as well as our military forces on the ground. And, in this era of hyper-partisan politics and press coverage, a resounding Taliban defeat on the battlefield plays a completely different way in media reporting, or on the campaign trail. The terrorists (and their propaganda machine) must be very happy, indeed.
As for Mr. Obama, he was last seen in that favorite refuge of Democratic politicians, an African-American church. And not just any church--a New Orleans congregation, and on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Speaking from the pulpit (gee, whatever happened to separation of the church and state), Senator Obama told the crowd that the nation had failed to "lift up" New Orleans long before Katrina, citing the city's persistent struggles with poverty and poor public schools. His solution: more government programs and spending that (ultimately) would be about as successful as his "reconstruction plan" for Afghanistan.