Monday, March 05, 2007

Info Ops

I might be reading too much into this, but I don't believe in coincidences, and this is quite a coincidence.

"A NATO airstrike destroyed a mud brick home, killing four generations of an Afghan family - nine people in all - during a firefight between Western troops and militants, Afghan officials and relatives said Monday.

Militants late Sunday fired on a NATO base in Kapisa province, just north of Kabul. When fighter aircraft returned fire they hit a civilian home, killing five adults and four children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, said Gulam Nabi, 51, a relative of the victims."

This follows just a day after the roadside bomb and shootout between insurgents and MARSOC Marines in which "up to 10" "civilians" were killed. Use of scare quotes intentional. NATO has been extremely bad in Afghanistan, far worse than the U.S., about managing the media and fighting information war. Note the fact that the U.S. has already hit back over the Marine shootout story:

"A U.S. official called The Associated Press on Monday to say that military authorities believe Sunday's suicide bombing was a "clearly planned, orchestrated attack" that included enemy fire on the convoy and a pre-planned and arranged demonstration.

The official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, said authorities believed criminal elements orchestrated the attack and demonstration and that it was related to ongoing Afghan efforts to eradicate the region's profitable poppy crop.

He said there was "no doubt in the minds of Marines on the ground that they were being fired on." The official said Afghan casualties could have been caused by militants on the ground or by U.S. gunfire."

This is exactly what NATO needs to do in the wake of this story. Investigate, find out what happened, and if it was a good shoot, shout it from the rooftops. Make sure the world knows that they are the ones who put civilians in the line of fire and are responsible for their death, not us.

In any case, it's shaping up to be one hell of a spring.