Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman got it right: War is hell.

There’s not much gallant or noble about it. It’s blood and body parts and wailing.

“Collateral damage” is the sanitized way to describe the suffering of innocent bystanders.

On Sept. 22, 78 civilians died in the most horrific attack yet on Pakistan’s Christian minority. A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up amid hundreds of worshippers at the historic All Saints Church in Peshawar.

The Jundullah arm of the Taliban claimed responsibility, saying they would continue to target non-Muslims until the United States stops drone attacks on Taliban forces in Pakistan’s remote tribal region.

The U.S. has carried out several hundred drone attacks against militants and their allies near the Afghan border. The latest came on the same day as the church attack, when missiles hit two compounds in the North Waziristan tribal area. Six suspected militants died.

The church bombing injured 141 people, including 37 children. The death count included 34 women and seven children.

It may not be tactically correct to do so, but it’s hard to overlook the imbalance: Six dead on one side, 78 on the other.

Targeting innocent people “is against the teachings of Islam and all religions,” the Pakistani prime minister said.

One of the problems of the nasty business of warfare is that it can be hard to tell who the innocent ones are.

But it’s certain that those who died at All Saints Church didn’t go around killing people.

— Paris Post-Intelligencer,

Tennessee, Sept. 23

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