I apologize in advance for typos. I am notorious for them, because I am a 'hunt and peck' typist. Please just look at the ideas.
"115,000 innocent civilians killed
Interesting how this number grows from forum to forum.
115K is the latest permutation I've heard. Actual number are likely in the 10,000 range, based on both CCM's (Combat Casualty Models)...and on ground reporting from Iraqi and US sources combined. Since this is a largely urban warfare campaign, civilian casualties can be expected. The last time a major urban war was fought was Stalingrad, winter of 41-42, then to a lesser extent, Berlin-45.
Yet it's really a number to serve a purpose isn't it? Since it's never been verified by a single reputable source, the number gains a life of its own.
But let's look at this assertion of 115,000 civilians killed in realtion to the number of Iraqi military personnel on station as of 19-3-2003, the day the war began:
-700,000 total Iraqi Army personnel, including reserves.
For all intents and purposes, the Iraqi Navy,Air Force are irrelevant and not included in my argument.
Now, we know which divisions resisted, and which ones 'melted away'. At least three entire divisions just took off their uniforms and slipped into the shadows as superior US forces advanced into baghdad.
A typical Iraqi division consists of about 5,000 men. So conservatively, we've got 15,000 'non-civilian' enemy lopped right off this 100K number (100 is what I see most often). So now, we're at 85,000 unless you consider an enemy soldier an 'innocent civilian'....I hope not.
Now, let's look at another detailed fact: smart weapons technology.
In the 1991 Gulf War, approximately 10% of the munitions deployed were considerd 'smart', able to impact at specific points of specific targets. Literally, an F-15D pilot with accurate intel could steer a GBU through a front door to kill the enemy.
However to be fair, we must acknowledge that the smartest munition is only as smart as the intel behind its delpoyment. Target identifiers are human, and humans err.
Next, let's explore the theory behind precision weaponry, as related to combat doctrine.
If you are an officer commanding a battalion, and your strategy consists of reducing the enemy either by direct engagement and/or eliminating his incentive to resist, which makes more sense for you?: carpet bombing him alond with schools,hospitals and infrastructure that will result in massive civilian casulties and rebuilding effort, or using a precision guided munitions at single locations?
My point is that even if we were haphazard and careless about who we strike by air or by ground attack, to hit civilians just doesn't make good military sense, strategically or tactically, regardless of the emotional or social consequences.
We have every reason to not strike civilians, and take extreme measures to avoid civilians, even at the cost of losing opportunities to strike terrorists, and sometimes at the cost of US Forces' lives.
Civilians will die. Mistakes will me made. Smart civilians will either stay away from known terrorist locations, move, or inform coalition forces of their whereabouts. Let's not forget that their former ruler murdered over 300,000 of them during his 36 year reign of horror. Those 300K are verified by mass graves that we have un-earthed.
The 100K-115K number of killed civilians attributed to our actions is neither substantiated by accurate counts, nor is its responsibilty solely ours. The number is an anti-war construct used to scare the uninformed into believing the George Bush wants all Iraqis dead so that he can steal their oil.
It's an argument that, absurd as it is, still claims the ear of the well-intended, but woefully ignorant American.