As the war against the Libyan Government enters its fifth day the concern about civilian casualties continues to grow. Perhaps even more than in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue has substantive political importance as efforts to maintain a broad based backing for the US/UK/French action continue [New York Times, CIF]. While the great majority of casualties that have been inflicted in the war so far have been caused by Libyan Government and rebels forces, the impact of western forces may well grow as the war continues.
Following the invasion of Afghanistan, it took over nine years for the US military to admit that they do collect and hold data on civilian casualties. The British military has yet to be as forthcoming. Will the western coalition perform any better in this new conflict or will we be left again we no hard information with which the human costs and benefits of the western intervention can be assessed?