July 21, 2002

MY LINK TO Stuart Buck’s revived webpage was bad — I was exhausted when I posted it last night. It’s fixed, but here it is again in case you missed it. Buck had an interesting blog going early last fall, but was forced off the Web by officious types at the D.C. Circuit, where he was clerking. Since he’s Blogger-powered, I’m not even going to try to link to the individual post, but he makes an excellent point in what is his top item at the moment:

The New York Times’ prominent treatment of an article on civilian casualties in Afghanistan makes me want to ask: Has there ever been another war in history where civilian casualties were so few that journalists could track down virtually all of them individually?

Buck notes that, paradoxically, this individual treatment may make civilian casualties actually seem greater than if the people involved were subsumed in a huge faceless mass.

One hopes that journalists and pundits will bear Buck’s point in mind as they do their jobs — because if they don’t, it’s possible that politicians and the military will bear it in mind as they do their jobs.

UPDATE: Bill Herbert has more on this, and also notes that the Taliban were using civilians as shields, something that more recent reports tend to leave out.

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