Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Not To Say This Is a Little Shady, But...

If you pay attention to the news from Iraq and Afghanistan, besides being about 90% more attentive than the rest of the nation, you may have noticed that the number killed by coalition airstrikes always seems to be 30 people.

Why is this? Well, one answer could be that the military has developed a special 30-person killing bomb that works remarkably well.

Or it's because, according to leaked military memos, any action which would likely kill more than 30 people requires approval from the highest echelons (specifically, according the memo, either Bush or Rumsfeld had to sign off on it from the get go). So if you were a commander on the ground who wanted to get things going, 30 was the highest plausible number of deaths you could report without having to go through mounds of red tape.

I'm not a sociologist of organizations, but I'm sure there's a term for this kind of thing that explains it quite well. But even without that, you can see how this kind of policy has all sorts of latent effects. Probably the most important, though, is that there is likely a greatly under-reported number of civilian deaths, as you can't report more than 30 people dead.

I don't want to be so radical as to suggest that maybe this is somewhat intentional, but I'll let you draw your own conclusion...

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