We’ve not heard much on this, have we?

Air strike killed at least four terrorists

It appears that at least four of those killed during the attack on a house believed to contain Ayman al-Zawahri were known terrorists, according to the Pakistani government. They acknowledge that women and children were also killed in the attack, something that we’ve heard all about.

One thing that hasn’t really been addressed is the issue of what to do about this type of thing. The terrorists are legitimate targets, and those that associate with them should be expected to know the risks. While the accidental death of non-terrorists associates is something that we must strive to avoid, we cannot allow the presence of family members to become an invulnerable force field of protection, either.

So what’s the answer? Free-fire zones in regions occupied by terrorists clearly aren’t the answer. But what of the friends, family, and hangers-on of terrorists, many of whom (leaders, anyway) are relatively rich and often accorded a sort of “superstar” status.

If professional football players suddenly became the most dangerous people on earth, and it became generally known that great powers were actively targeting professional football players for death by violent means, means which often caused significant “collateral damage”, wouldn’t you expect that some of the fans and autograph seekers and groupies would start keeping their distance? Wouldn’t worried parents keep their kids from attending training camps with football players? How many NFL replica jerseys would be worn openly on the street? And who in their right mind would attend NFL games? Wouldn’t a gathering of two large groups of those marked for death make an inviting target? And if someone took the risk and was killed when the stadium collapsed on them after seventeen hits by GPS-guided weapons, whose fault would it be?

In the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu (“Black Hawk Down” for those of you educated by Hollywood), the militants attacking US soldiers hid behind women in the street, often popping out just long enough to spray a few rounds in the general direction of our men before retreating back into a crowd with women at the forefront. When a Somali attacker was killed, a child would often be sent out into the street to retrieve the fallen man’s weapon with the knowledge that he could do so safely when an adult could not.

The stalking and assassination of terrorist leaders, of course, will usually occur far from the battlefield, and many additional steps, unavailable to the soldier under active attack, can be taken to get the right guys, all the right guys, and nothing but the right guys. But opportunities are scarce, and in many cases tough decisions are going to have to be made.

These aren’t easy questions to answer. And, despite what my critics are probably going to say in the comments section, I’m not advocating the targeting of women and children. But as long as we’re targeting terrorists, women and children are going to keep paying the price. It isn’t a secret. And we shouldn’t pretend that such terrible occurrences necessarily invalidate the strategy of killing the enemy.

Isn’t this a terrible time that we live in?


  1. Civilians that help the enemy are targets … just ask any factory worker who was working in WWII Nazi Germany. IF you shoot children who participate in military missions ( think Hitler Youth ), then parents stop volunteering them. Bystanders need to hit the deck or flee … hanging around and being cover when shooting starts is just tempting Darwin…. I would suggest that maybe we are a little too careful these days.

  2. Yeah these civilians had invited them to dinner so I don’t have a big issue with there deaths. Thing is though how much ammo will this give the anti-Musahref forces in Pakistan. Could this be the event that brings all of his internal oppents togher enough to pull a coup off, even with our protection. If so then it’s not worh it, cause then we have a reactionary Islamic gov. with the bomb. We have to ask was there a better way to get these 4? One that would cause less trouble for us and our ally.

  3. Credibility related program activities. Yes, there really were terrorists in that house were we killed all those innocent bystanders. Yeah, thats the ticket.

  4. innocent bystanders’? If they were innocent, why did they invite a terrorist kingpin around for dinner? Funny how most ‘innocent bystaners’ in Afghanistan and Iraq are males aged 17-35. Take away the weapons they were carrying – hey presto! Instant innocent civilians!

  5. ‘Funny how most ‘innocent bystaners’ in Afghanistan and Iraq are males aged 17-35. Take away the weapons they were carrying – hey presto! Instant innocent civilians!’ Samee, same in the Nam. Bury the AK, get behind a water buffalo and: PRESTO: Innocent civilian.

  6. For the record, I think that there’s quite a difference between employees in a Messerschmitt factory in WW2 and the wife and kids in a terrorist’s house in Pakistan. But, as a number have pointed out, some of the same rules still apply. I’ve got real problems with damning the kids for the sins of the parent, but I also don’t know what to do about it. I’d like to think that we make every effort to make these strikes when others won’t be caught in the crossfire, such as when we took out that car in Yemen. As others have pointed out, even when killing terrorists, the dead civilians are bad press for a government that’s shaky at best in Pakistan. Even cold-blooded murdering thugs of the Bushitler Regime would recognize that and take it into account. This was apparently going to be a large gathering of bad guys and it was probably the correct call to strike. As for Aaron, he’s pretty quick to assume that reports of civilian deaths are accurate and that reports of terrorist deaths are inaccurate. Maybe he’s been there and seen for himself? He certainly knows something we don’t. ‘Fess up, Aaron! Fill us in.

  7. It is always a shame when children are killed. The go where their parents take them, even in harm’s way. As for the adults, if they weren’t actual trigger pullers, they were support types. We only saw that old dud they showed. I would bet you that there are also pieces of AK’s RPG’s RPK’s etc layin all over that place. The difference between conservatives and liberals is conservatives begin with the premise that this country is virtuous. Liberals take the opposite view. That is why they find ‘innocents’ believable in the terrorist’s propaganda accounts. News Flash: Murdering innocent civilians is not the policy of the US Military. When it happens, it is prosecuted. Murdering innocent civilians is the tactic, therefore the policy of the fundamuslimists. Therefore we are the good guys, they are not.

  8. Perhaps we can tell they are civilians cause they don’t wear uniforms?? Unless none of them wear uniforms. Naaaaah they don’t do that I mean after all that would remove all the Geneva Convention protections for them. Or, no wait, did they sign the Geneva Convention rules thingie? This is just so confusing isn’t it?

  9. Hot Fudge Holy Moly …… this just in on the Malkin site: ABC News has learned that al Qaeda’s master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert was one of the men killed in last week’s U.S. missile attack in eastern Pakistan. Midhat Mursi, 52, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was identified by Pakistani authorities as one of three known al Qaeda leaders present at an apparent terror summit conference in the village of Damadola. The United States had posted a $5 million reward for Mursi’s capture. He is described by U.S. authorities as the man who ran al Qaeda’s infamous Derunta training camp in Afghanistan, where he used dogs and other animals as subjects of experiments with poison and chemicals. ‘This is extraordinarily important,’ said former FBI agent Jack Cloonan, an ABC News consultant, who was the senior agent on the FBI’s al Qaeda squad. ‘He’s the man who trained the shoe bomber, Richard Reid and Zacharias Mousssaoui, as well as hundreds of others.’ I knew this thing was a pre IED. And there we see Moe Larry and Curly posin with it as if it was a part of the evil HellFire missle.

  10. I wonder if a special forces strike was considered in a circumstance like this. If the intel is decent, it should be possible to know how many armed men are likely to be around and insert a team which can eliminate the bad guys without quite as much carnage as an air strike. Of course, that’s far more risky, and it could easily turn into a big mess where all the women and children end up dead anyway… it’s a question of how much risk the commanders feel it’s worth taking to limit the damage. I’d like to think that kind of thing is considered, but realistically the public would probably be more upset about the dead Americans likely to result than the people having dinner with Abu Khabab al-Masri and his bomb-making friends. It’s sad that these people died, but the simple fact is, if this guy wasn’t making IEDs he wouldn’t have been targetted. Don’t start a war, don’t put your family at risk.

  11. Jim B, thanks for posting that up. I just saw it on CNN. Looks like we did get somebody big, good. Even with Islamic hospitality I still don’t know why anyone in there right mind would invite these guys over for dinner. Could the press sensation about this be drummed up by Pakistan somehow, or elements of the Pakistan gov. Becasue maybe they knew he was there and they wanted to cover it up.

  12. Who know, maybe we did fire a dud into the building, but it was so packed with explosives that the K.E. was enough to trigger a detonator. lol

  13. Well Murdoc, to be clear, the Bush administration should strive to have zero credibility. that would be a step up from what they have now which is negative credibility. With zero credibility people dont believe you- you could be lying. you could be telling the truth. it could go either way. With negative credibility- its all lies. What do I think happened here? I wont speak to the why’s but Ill tell you what I can discern as the facts here: 1. we blew up a home killing all inside. 2. there were some number of innocent children as well as likely innocent women who were killed. 3. there were some number of men present who at the very least commited the crime of LWB thus justifying their death. 4. Bush, via his agents and proxies claims that this was justified. but of course, he has negative credibility. 5. Musharaf, a totalitarian ruler, reiterated Bush’s claim. Of course he needs to keep the population from overthrowing him which they might do if we agitate them enough. This of course should remind us of the horible price we are paying for Bush’s evil. We could have treated this as criminal matter. Sent in a unit of special forces and some mp’s to surround the place and arrest them. Give them a public trial. And of course if they were innocent, they would not have resisted knowing full well that they would get a fast fair trial and be promptly released. Of course since bush implemented his plan to murder, torture, humiliate, and detain them indefinately without a hearing. Oh LWB- living while brown.

  14. This is funny: ‘The difference between conservatives and liberals is conservatives begin with the premise that this country is virtuous.’ Is that why it was okay to implement a policy of totrue? Becouse we are more virtuous then Saddam?

  15. Aaron: Did you make that fantasy up all by yourself? You have a great imagination to make up something so unlikely. Plus you seem to like grand, complicated conspiracy theories. You know the kind I mean, ‘the CIA assassinated JFK’, that sort of thing. Keep trying, maybe someday you will come up with something that make sense by accident.

  16. Aaron: Who has positive credibility without complete oppresive rule? Politicians always cover up stuff(sometimes necessary, sometimes not), unless the media are not there to dig it all up there is no one to tell the masses. A good example is communist Russia. I would rather go with the lies and find out about them.

  17. Aaron: Explain how you’ve ‘discerned’ anything. Where have you received your information? As far as I can tell, you’ve decided to believe only the parts of the press reports and the official releases that you like, and then you base your entire chain of logic upon that limited information. Limited, apparently, by your own likes and dislikes. So who is it with negative credibility?

  18. As far as I ‘know’ the decepticon administration has been just that. Theyve a long and proven track record of lying, and making shit up. Could Iraq have launch its WMD’s with as little as 45 minutes notice? Was the air at ground zero was safe to breath? Were we greeted as liberators? Was Brownie doing a heckuva job? was air force one almost spotted on its way to Iraq? Were the aluminum tubes for a WMD project? Was Iraq seeking uranium from Africa? They’ve got a proven track record of lying. They lie when it suits them. They lie when it advances their goals. Thats negative credibility. We blew up a building that they now ‘claim’ had terrorists in it. What should make me think they are telling the truth now?

  19. Maybe you didnt realise, but the reason those arguments had positive credability was not because the world believed Bush, but because they did not trust Saddam. The person to blame here is Saddam, who had negative credability. Hence what he said was considered to instantly be a lie. This was not done without reason, the past clearly taught us that Saddam lied when necessary. Credability cannot be judged on one person (ie Bush) in the case of a democracy. It can be judged on one person in the case of a dictatorship (ie Saddam). Maybe you did not realise, but in comparison to the media, the government has more truthful stories to lies. (I personally don’t trust the media till the goverment aknowledges that what they said is the truth) Maybe if the media had checked out whether the government was ‘lying’ or not(ie. checked it’s sources), you would have had the truth all along! No I really do not know why you trust the media instead of the government… you tell us

  20. Enforcing Murdocs argument: If the government were to just say, ‘yes we lied’. Would they be lying then? Why trust the government when they agree with the media? Maybe they are just lying to suit themselves and get on the side of the media(and the population)? Yes these are the type of questions a conspiracy theory is based on. (Look out your window.. there is a world outwith your room with JFK assasination pictures.)

  21. Vstress- I have no idea what you are talking about. Seriously. Are you saying that the Bush administration has has more credibility then Saddam? And I suppose our torture chambers and rape rooms arent nearly as bad and dont handle nearly the volume! Is that the comparisons the US makes? 3 of the items out of 7 I mentioned had to do with Saddam. Two of those we knew were false- Africa (cf. Joe Wilson) and the Aluminum tubes. As for the third- the 45 minute comment- there was an easy way to find out the truth: we could have let the UN inspectors finish their job. We gave them our intel. They checked out our leads. And their own. And they were finding lots of bubkis. and sand. lots and lots of sand.

  22. 3 of the items out of 7 I mentioned had to do with Saddam. Two of those we knew were false- Africa (cf. Joe Wilson) and the Aluminum tubes.’ Shows how much you know. Wilson actually found evidence that the Iraqis were trying to buy Uranium from Nigeria when he went to Africa. He even reported this to the CIA when he got back. He just conveniently ‘forgot’ about it during all those press conferences, and lied. Yes, he found evidence that no Uranium was actually transferred. But that doesn’t contradict the evidence that they were trying to buy some now, does it? Unless you’re one of these people who doesn’t know the difference between the words ‘sought’ and ‘bought’. Yes, I know it’s tough, there’s only one letter difference, but if you try really hard maybe you can work it out. What was that about credibility, again?

  23. Confusion over al-Qaeda deaths By Farhan Bokhari Published: January 20 2006 02:00 | Last updated: January 20 2006 02:00 Confusion yesterday surrounded the identity of three of the four al-Qaeda members named by Pakistan’s intelligence officials as the victims of a CIA-led air strike in a remote region on the Afghan border. ADVERTISEMENT <A TARGET=’_blank’ HREF=’http://ads.ft.com/event.ng/Type=click&FlightID=41153&AdID=57330&TargetID=20511&Segments=3099,6198,6235,9122,9179,10159,11108,11693,11694,13319,13350,14052,14109,15545,16157,17077,18316,18489,18876,18952,18962,19119,19724&Targets=3099,15407,7972,6224,20897,18699,20511&Values=30,51,63,77,86,94,102,150,165,239,249,253,494,547,559,575,600,639,650,931,1583,3614,4431,4548,4570,4646,4704,5633,6184,6380,6391,6396,6617,7498,8072,8177,8179,8427,8454&RawValues=&Redirect=http://www.ft.com/screensaver’><IMG SRC=’http://www.image.ft.com/adimages/banner/marketingscreensavermpu.gif’ WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=250 BORDER=0></A> An al-Qaeda bomb expert, for whom the US had offered a $5m (-