"I believe the perception caused by civilian casualties is one of the most dangerous enemies we face."
- U.S. General Stanley A. McCrystal in his inaugural speech as ISAF Commander in June 2009.The dust had hardly settled on Russian airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria before Western media reports claimed that 'civilians' had been killed "including women and children".
Leaving aside the dubious nature of these allegations - the first of which was made before Russian airstrikes had even begun, according to Putin - Western propaganda outlets and the politicians they serve are in no position to point the finger at Russia over any purported "collateral damage".
Comparing recent BBC headlines with BBC headlines from 4 years ago when NATO obliterated several cities in Libya, you could be forgiven for thinking that BBC journalists and editors have only now realised that bombs kill people, in particular Russian bombs (the British, French and American variety only ever killing 'bad guys' with 'pin-point accuracy').
Four years ago, not a word, much less a headline, was carried by Western newspapers about the slaughter of the people of Sirte by NATO war planes. The information was available, they just failed to report it.
In a call from a satellite phone to Reuters' office in Tunis on Saturday 17th September 2011, Libyan politician Moussa Ibrahim said:
"NATO attacked the city of Sirte last night with more than 30 rockets directed at the city's main hotel and the Tamin building, which consists of more than 90 residential flats.But U.S., British and French slaughter of civilians in Libya pales into relative insignificance when compared to the overall death toll from the last 12 years of the U.S.-led 'war on terror'.
"The result is more than 354 dead and 89 still missing and almost 700 injured in one night."
"In the last 17 days more than 2,000 residents of the city of Sirte were killed in NATO air strikes."