Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marc Garlasco on Afghanistan

"I don't think people really appreciate the gymnastics that the U.S. military goes through in order to make sure that they're not killing civilians," Garlasco points out.

"If so much care is being taken why are so many civilians getting
killed?" Pelley asks.

"Because the Taliban are violating international law,” says
Garlasco, “and because the U.S. just doesn't have enough troops on the ground. You have the Taliban shielding in people's homes. And you have this small number of troops on the ground. And sometimes the only thing they can do is drop bombs."
That's him speaking in 2007, well after leaving the Pentagon for HRW. Kinda wow. He's defending (not to mention a logic that HRW would deny to Israel) collateral damage rates way beyond what Israel has caused.

At the Pentagon, Garlasco was chief of high value targeting at the start of the Iraq war. He told 60 Minutes how many civilians he was allowed to kill around each high-value target -- targets like Saddam Hussein and his leadership.
"Our number was 30. So, for example, Saddam Hussein. If you're gonna kill up to 29 people in a strike against Saddam Hussein, that's not a problem," Garlasco explains. "But once you hit that number 30, we actually had to go to either President Bush, or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld."

Garlasco says, before the invasion of Iraq, he recommended 50 air strikes aimed at high-value targets -- Iraqi officials.

But he says none of the targets on the list were actually killed. Instead, he says, "a couple of hundred civilians at least" were killed.

No comments: