Another ‘grim milestone’

We’re consistently told that counting the number of dead Taliban, al Qaeda, or other terrorists is an inaccurate metric to gauge success. And I agree; a focus just on the number of dead enemy fighters does not tell the story, only a small part of it. Analyzing casualties alone is highly misleading.

So why does the media report on US and allied casualties, but exclude enemy casualties? Take today’s story in the AP, “Soldier’s Death a Milestone in U.S. Afghanistan Operations”. We know exactly how many US and Coalition soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, because websites like (Iraq and Afghanistan statistics) keep the numbers. And the media quotes iCasualties monthly to let us know the stats.

If an organization decided to build a tCasualties (Taliban in Afghanistan) or aqCasualties (al Qaeda global) website, would the media quote the numbers? Or would that be crass body counting, harkening back to Pentagon information campaigns in Vietnam?

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Tom Egatherion says:

    Its all about politicizing the issue.
    Ok, this is a response comment on a blog, so I’m not exactly going to be citing webpages and sources here, but a brief websearch will tell you a lot.
    Michael White, who operates, is a self professed Southern Liberal who was familiar with the original US casualty count from his daily perusing of one of the more popular liberal websites, the DailyKos. Pat Kneisler had compiled the original tally, and White contacted her and offered to keep it going. Thus his original site,, was born.
    To give a clearer picture of his views, records show that White, a software engineer at a technology company in Stone Mountain Georgia, donated to Obama’s campaign. In addition, the Seattle Times described White’s response to GW Bush’s 2000 election as retreating to music and listening to “Scots-Irish murder ballads”.
    Ok, fine. This guy might not be a “Cindy Sheehan”, but he’s definitely a low-key anti-war activist.
    In comparison, if a guy who spent his days on WorldNetDaily decided to keep a tally of the enemy dead, you’d hear about it -negatively- in the media. Especially if it was discovered that he was a McCain contributor who cheered, lit off fireworks, and fired an M-14 into the air when GW Bush got elected.

  • Render says:

    Another fine example can be found in the current negotiations with Uzbekistan.
    George Soros and company repeatedly lambasted the W admin for dealing with U-Stan in ’05.
    The current (Soros backed) O admin is dealing with U-Stan to re-open the base they threw us out of, and the Soros crew has nary a word to say about it.
    DO AS
    I SAY,


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