Following Contact from CAMERA, Washington Post Corrects on Disproportionate Bombing Claim

After contact from CAMERA, The Washington Post has changed inaccurate wording in an Oct. 12, 2023 report.

That article, by Post staffers Louisa Loveluck, Shira Rubin, Samantha Schmidt and Susannah George was littered with misleading omissions, bias and continued the Post’s well-worn habit of uncritically regurgitating casualty figures supplied by Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

The report, “Israel says it will end Hamas rule in Gaza,” uncritically quoted Marc Garlasco, who was identified as a “military adviser at the Dutch organization PAX for Peace and a former U.N. war crimes investigator in Libya.”

Citing Garlasco, the Post claimed that “the highest number of bombs and other munitions dropped in one year during the war in Afghanistan was just over 7,423.” Garlasco’s claim was meant to back up the Post’s implication that the IDF bombing campaign was disproportionate.

Yet, as CAMERA pointed out to Post editors and staff, Garlasco’s claim isn’t true.

Rather, according to the Guardian citing U.S. statistics, the 7,423 in-a-year figure is the most since 2006—a period well into the occupation of Afghanistan and long after the U.S. invasion. Indeed, the highest number of bombs and other munitions dropped in one year during the war in Afghanistan was not 7423. Not even close.

The Council on Foreign Relations states, citing the U.S. Air Force, that during the initial 76 days of bombing, some 6,500 strike sorties were flown, with 17,500 munitions dropped on over 520 target.

The Post’s decision to uncritically repeat claims by Garlasco is noteworthy. Garlasco has a long—and very well documented—history of anti-Israel bias. Indeed, in 2009 he was suspended from Human Rights Watch, after it was revealed that he was an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia.

CAMERA highlighted issues with the Post’s report to staff, including to the newspaper’s standards and ethics editors.

Nearly two months later, the Washington Post belatedly issued a correction, noting “A previous version of this story said that 7,423 bombs were the most dropped by the U.S.-led coalition in any year during the war in Afghanistan. It was the highest numbers since the U.S. Air Force Central Command began releasing the strike data on a monthly basis in 2006, not since the start of the war. The article has been corrected.”

It is worth noting that this correction, while not only belated, is both weak and worded in a misleading fashion.

The Washington Post should spend less time uncritically quoting collectors of Nazi memorabilia and more time brushing up on its stated standards and ethics. The newspaper continues to embarrass itself.

For additional Washington Post corrections prompted by CAMERA, please see here.

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