orters on the ground (a level of scrutiny Herold did not attempt), went and made estimates of their own, most of which ended in the 600-1,500 range, if my memory is correct (again, click on the word "link" in my post, and you will se links to most of this stuff, I think).

Add to that the decidedly partisan tone of Herold's presentation & other writings, and his lack of specific expertise in the field (though, whatever it may be, it exceeds my own), and I was left with the distinct impression that his figures are less reliable than that of anyone else I've seen study the issue.

I should mention here, in case it matters, that when I first heard of his study, my reaction was "oh shit, that's horrible news," not "let's debunk the leftist!" I think civilian deaths are a horrible consequence of war, one that we should face up to, and apply pressure to uncover, *especially* if we (like me) supported the war in the first place.

It's important to know that war is literally atrocious, and it's a sign of societal health, methinks, that we generally try to avoid it for these reasons, while developing ever-more efficient methods of killing and destroying who and what we intend to.

I have no idea if Al Qaeda has returned to its past strength; though I can't help but guess that not having a single safe base of operations has made it more difficult for them to operate. In one sense, I am equally worried about our perpetual vulnerability to lone-wacko attacks, of the kind at LAX and even the sniper dude. The idea has been launched in people's minds, there is clearly *some* kind of civilizational war afoot, no matter how we slice it, and as long as the U.S. is the world's uni-power I fear that we will always provoke people's ire, especially those aligned with various bizarre death cults....

Posted by: Matt Welch at November 3, 2002 06:31 PM

I remember reading two reports on civilian deaths in Afghanistan by reporters who went all over Afghanistan and interviewed survivors and Taliban propagandists. Both placed the civilian death toll at less than 1,000 people. I think 900 was the high end of the range; I forget the low end.

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs at November 3, 2002 11:10 PM
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