The events of September 11, 2001, are said to have changed everything. George W. Bush announced that the United States would declare war against any nation harboring terrorists and sent U.S. armed forces into Afghanistan to oust the Taliban, eliminate al-Qaeda, and catch Osama bin Laden. Not only did a sense of foreboding pervade the U.S. population but it was fostered by the media. Following the attacks in New York and Washington, Dan Rather, anchor of CBS Evening News, said, "George Bush is the president. He makes the decisions. Whenever he wants me to line up, just tell me where. And he'll make the call."
The U.S. Catholic bishops as a body announced publicly their vote--267 to 4--to support the war in Afghanistan. As reported in the Jesus Journal, "Most of the heads of the other monotheistic religions in the United States," from Billy Graham on down, didn't mince words "about their desire to give spiritual and conscience comfort to the American war effort."
Throughout the ensuing war, Americans have received no official reports of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, accompanied by men in uniform, brief the press and the population. Only Extra!--the magazine of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting--reported that there may be over 3,500 civilian deaths and that "both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have voiced strong concern about the loss of civilian lives and separately called for a moratorium on the use of cluster bombs."
Agence France Presse noted on December 6, 2001, that refugees from Kandahar "spoke of tremendous civilian casualties" when wave after wave of U.S. bombers targeted the …