Yesterday, while Sec. of State Clinton was expressing “deep regret” over Monday's civilian deaths in Bala Baluk, US military spokespeople were telling a different story. After similar incidents, one of the usual claims made is that the civilian casualties are inevitable since villagers are “used as human shields by the Taliban” but this time, DOD is spinning at a whole new level, claiming that the Taliban rounded up civilians and killed them with grenades – then loaded the bodies into trucks to use are an anti-American photo op. CNN quickly had Barbara Starr on air repeating the DOD version within hours of the Clinton apology.
Unfortunately for the DOD spinmeisters, the International Committee of the Red Cross has detailed information from the scene – and given the ICRC’s normal reticence and careful neutrality, their credibility certainly beats that of a source that once before attempted to pass off a report from Ollie North that no civilians were killed in a similar attack as a report from a legitimate embedded journalist.