Afghan president Hamid Karzai denounced once again U.S./NATO airstrikes that killed civilians. In this recent incident, 14 were killed, including 11 children. This prompted ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer (5/31/11) to call in ABC reporters to sort things out, leading to this exchange with Pentagon reporter Martha Raddatz:
SAWYER: He’s talking to the Afghan people. But Martha, he put restrictions on what U.S. troops can do, what the NATO troops can do. How onerous are these?
RADDATZ: Well, he’s trying to put restrictions on. I mean they simply have to carry out air strikes over there. It’s a very rapid response. It’s real-time intelligence. It’s certainly flawed at some points.
But I’ve been on these missions. I’ve been on a combat mission in a fighter jet. I’ve seen all the very, very careful steps they take. They go through what’s called the nine line. In fact, the mission I went on, some French soldiers were calling for them to bomb and the pilot and the weapons officer said, “We can’t bomb, we think there’s a school, we think there might be people in there.”
So I think you will see a real fight over these restrictions, but the airstrikes and these night raids just simply have to continue if they’re going to go after the enemy.
So bombing raids in Afghanistan “have to continue,” for the sake of having a “rapid response” to “real-time intelligence.” And Raddatz, who has “been on a combat mission,” can assure you how “very, very careful” they are–why, on the mission she flew, they didn’t bomb a target simply because they thought it was a school! This great care taken to not kill civilians sometimes gets more attention than the actual killing of civilians.
The piece helpfully included footage of Raddatz on her combat mission, gathering all the “facts” necessary to produce this kind of journalism.