Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen says that Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange "might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family."
The Eye sees and makes note of the bloody finger with which Mullen points.
Slate has put together this interactive graphic that characterizes the civilian vs. military casualties in Afghanistan over several years, based on the data Wikileaks has come into possession of. What we can tell from an objective look at the graph is that the number of casualties we inflict on the people we deem "the enemy" (however the discrimination is being made; we can only hope it's consistently applied) is comparable to the number of civilian casualties we inflict.
If we look closer, we see that there were times (~Jan. 2006) when we were clearly offing far more civilians than enemies. Even five years into the conflict, when one would have hoped that some progress in the war had been made and that our tactics and methods would have improved with experience in an initially novel (to us) state of war, the number of civilian casualties still roughly correlated with military deaths in proportion. Whatever weapon systems we are using in Afghanistan, from sidearm to missile to supersonic bomber, they are being used against a form of enemy not sufficiently distinguishable from the general population that the weapon system can be directed against one versus the other in a highly preferential way.
Yes, other wars had high civilian casualties at times; I know about Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Dresden, and London. But I reject the notion that the past excursions of wars into simple indiscriminate death-dealing justifies future or present excursions; to do so implies that humanity learns nothing.
I see no way that the Administration's or the Pentagon's stated objectives in Afghanistan can be reasonably met given the degree of bad faith we have to be engendering. Any kid with experience on school playgrounds can sort this out: the big new kid who threw sand in my best friends' faces along with the bully's face he was aiming for is not automatically my hero.
I'll leave you with one last thought. Given the timespan of that graph, one thing we can conclude is that Afghanistan is giving us a robust pipeline of enemy combatants. I have to wonder: are there enough fertile Afghan women to deliver combatants-to-be indefinitely?