The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars

August 26th, 2011

While we sometimes enter wars with the best of intentions, (Libya as a case in point,) the reality is often quite different. In almost all wars the dead are not just enemy soldiers, but hundreds of thousand of innocent civilians whose death, at best, becomes a statistic.

Its hard for us to grasp this reality. Perhaps it's our own myopia, our inability to see or relate to those that might be different than ourselves, or a need to look away for fear of feeling a kind of collective guilt. Whatever the individual reasons, the new reality of high tech warfare is arguably making this increase in civilian causalities all the more a reality. John Tirman, Executive Director of the Center for International Studies at MIT, explains in his new work The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars. My conversation with John Tirman: