U.S. Turns to Body Counts in Afghanistan

"In recent months, the U.S. command in Afghanistan has begun publicizing every single enemy fighter killed in combat, the most detailed body counts the military has released since the practice fell into disrepute during the Vietnam War," reports the Wall Street Journal. The change comes in response to concerns "that at home, the common perception is this war is being lost," explained a military spokeswoman. Enemy body counts are only released for U.S. troops separate from the NATO-led forces, as European nations feel that publicizing deaths "would prove politically unpalatable at home and counterproductive in Afghanistan." In addition to making "it harder for insurgents to credibly claim victory," the U.S. military says releasing body counts will also help "debunk ... enemy propaganda" over civilian casualties. Afghan officials, local human rights organizations and U.S. military personnel often disagree over how many civilians have been killed by military operations, leading to "public-relations chaos."