NATO: We're to blame for Sunday's civilian deaths in Libya
NATO's unprecedented acknowledgment of responsibility for civilian deaths is raising doubts about the alliance's prolonged campaign in Libya, which was supposed to save civilian lives.
(Page 2 of 2)
"We cannot continue our shortcomings in the way we communicate with the public, which doesn't keep up with the daily propaganda of Gaddafi," he said.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The Libyan government hurried reporters in Tripoli to the site soon after the Sunday strike. The New York Times described bodies being pulled from the rubble, as well as family odds and ends: children's shoes, diapers, and kitchen tools. A neighbor showed them his shattered windows, which had been broken by the force of the nearby bombing.
"In a sign of a moral and religious bankruptcy and military defeat the warplanes of NATO staged a barbaric air attack against an otherwise a peaceful residential area in Tripoli killing three members of one family," a statement from the state-run Jamahiriya News Agency said. The headline called the strike a "crime against humanity."
Qaddafi's government has blamed NATO for civilian deaths before, but Sunday's charges were the first that were not contradicted by witnesses or a lack of evidence, the Times reports.
In a column for Time Magazine, Tony Karon writes that civilian casualties are inevitable in any military effort, but that the latest casualties come at an inopportune time.
The reason there's a well-worn military euphemism – "collateral damage" – to describe incidents like Sunday morning's air strike … is that they're an inevitable consequence of waging war from the air. It happens so frequently in Afghanistan and Pakistan that the US-allied governments in both places are forced into ritual denunciation of Western military action.
But Sunday morning's debacle – caused, NATO believes, by a "weapons systems failure" that resulted in a bomb or missile missing its target – could not have come at a worse time for the Alliance, whose war effort was exhibiting signs of deep strain even before the strike that will amplify criticism from within and outside of NATO over a mission that has morphed from its UN mandate to protect civilians from being overrun by Gaddafi forces to a campaign of bombing the dictator out of power.