Saturday, September 06, 2014

Annals of derp: Kissinger arithmetic

The old vampire Professor Kissinger was on the NPR this morning sharing his fascinating views. He seems to be a little challenged with respect to the arithmetic thing:
I think we would find, if you study the conduct of [the military], that the Obama administration has hit more targets on a broader scale than the Nixon administration ever did. And, of course, B-52s have a different bombing pattern.

On the other hand, drones are far more deadly because they are much more accurate. And I think the principle is essentially the same. You attack locations where you believe people operate who are killing you. You do it in the most limited way possible. And I bet if one did an honest account, there were fewer civilian casualties in Cambodia than there have been from American drone attacks.
I'm not aware of any statistics about number of targets or clear why anybody would be interested in making a comparison since, as Dr. Kissinger acknowledges, what constitutes a target for a B-52 is different from what constitutes a target for a Predator drone. The numbers of deaths, on the other hand, have been studied, if not very completely.

Although information is sparse, American bombing in Cambodia is estimated to have killed between 40,000 and 150,000 civilians and combatants.[19][20][21]
Huffington Post, January 2014:
The U.S. drone program under President Barack Obama reached its fifth anniversary on Thursday having tallied up an estimated death toll of at least 2,400 people.
We don't have respectable numbers distinguishing civilian from combatant fatalities, or for that matter an agreed way of distinguishing civilians from combatants in these types of conflict, but if Dr. Kissinger is correct in claiming that drone operations are more accurate than carpet bombing, which seems likely on the face of it, then the percentage of civilians among the minimum 40,000 deaths in Cambodia is probably considerably higher than the percentage of civilians among the minimum 2,400 killed in the Overseas Contigency Operations of 2009 to 2014.

Thus, since the Cambodian bombing killed at least six times as many people total (in one small country outside the official theater of operations) as the OsCOps (that's my own acronym, by the way) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and wherever else, the number of civilians it killed must have been more than six times as many, and probably a great deal more.

A hint on this is given in the numbers provided by the New America Foundation for Pakistan bombing, which yield a proportion of civilian to total deaths in Pakistan ranging from 25 to 30% under Bush 2004-2008, and  5 to 8% under the greatly expanded but much more professionally conducted drone operations of Obama 2009–August 2014. That would suggest that the number of all the civilians killed in the Obama-era OsCOps could be no more than 8% of 2,400, or 192, or even as little as 5%, or 120; while the number of civilians killed in the Cambodian bombings is clearly 50 to 100 or many more times as many, at the very least more than 10,000 (25% of 40,000).

Dr. Kissinger is lying so hard I'm surprised his tongue doesn't fall out.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names. My take on drone warfare in general, from February 2013, is here.


Victor said...

When he saw good, he was great - when he was bad, he was horrible.

But the one thing you can always say, is the Christopher Hitchens was spot on when he wrote "The Case Against Henry Kissinger
Part One
The making of a war criminal.

To bad he forgot what he wrote about there after 9/11, and supported administrations chock full of war criminals in America and England.

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this. I was listening to that interview this morning when Kissinger said that drones were deadlier than carpet bombing...because drones are 'more accurate'. Huh?
Proves, once again, that Kissinger remains a partisan hack.

Glennis said...

I heard him this morning, too. Before I was barely aware of it, a wave of revulsion coursed through me at the sound of his voice.

Ken_L said...

Why wouldn't he lie? Lying is now a risk-free practice in American politics and political commentary. Liars don't get held to account; on the contrary, they get rewarded. People aren't interested in the truth, all they want is to hear things that confirm their pre-existing beliefs and attitudes. In this climate, anyone who doesn't lie is not going to be listened to.

Victor said...

IOKIYAR - not Democrats.

Any Democrat caught in a lie, is eviscerated by the MSM.

Democratic NY Governor and a hooker?
Gov resigns.

Republican LA Senator and hookers in several states?
And now running for Governor.



Lawrence said...

On behalf of those he called "useless eaters", that's all us 99.9%ers, I call for Dr. Kissinger to be devoured by army ants.