The reports that U.S. and/or NATO forces are killing Afghan civilians at a faster rate than militant insurgents (including the Taliban) are is rather alarming.
While the numbers are disputed, and we don't suspect civilians are killed deliberately, we agree with critics, such as Human Rights Watch, who say military operations there need to be more precise.
"They (NATO) need to be doing it cleaner and doing it better," Human Rights Watch researcher Michael Shaikh told The Associated Press. "Every death has a profound effect on the Afghan population." Those deaths also undermine the credibility of Hamid Karzai's government there, giving the Taliban a stronger foothold in the region.
The war in Afghanistan didn't start out as the one in Iraq did. While not everyone agrees, it could be argued that in the case of Afghanistan, the U.S. government was responding to the Sept. 11 attacks. And although not carried out on behalf of the people of Afghanistan, the purported mastermind of the attacks, Osama bin Laden, was based in Afghanistan, where he benefited from the support of at least some of the population.
The Iraq war, however, was a gargantuan disaster from the start, and is now a protracted, bloody, unjustified war that's done little but make life worse for Iraqis, killing them off by the thousands, costing more American lives than those lost in 9/11 and creating more enemies for us by the minute.
If we're not careful, Afghanistan could turn into another Iraq for us.