One would think that the effort to downplay the killings of as many as 64 civilians, including a large number of children, would be enough to spark considerable anti-US outrage, but apparently Gen. David Petraeus saw an opportunity to make things even worse, and took it.
In a closed door meeting aimed at explaining why they had killed so many civilians, Gen. Petraeus actually accused parents in the region of burning their own children in an attempt to raise the death count and make the US look bad.
Of course if there is one thing the occupation forces don’t need any help with, it’s looking bad, and the shocking accusation sparked considerable anger amongst the Karzai government. It was quickly dismissed by provincial officials, of course, but did immeasurable damage to US credibility on the matter of the rising civilian toll.
The US has a long history of making up ridiculous hypotheticals that might explain away massive civilian death tolls, including the May 2009 Farah Province massacre, in which the US initially claimed the Taliban had “pre-killed” a large number of civilians and stored them in buildings before tricking the US into bombing them, scattering the bodies. They later admitted the claim was entirely made up.
The US has also regularly accused Afghan civilians of “making up” stories of dead relatives in an effort to claim the paltry reparations that the military offers for accidently killing a civilian. This appears, however, to be the first time they actually accused parents of killing their children just to make the US occupation look bad.