Recently Sarah Palin's been attacking Barack Obama for a careless formulation in which he implied that all America is doing in Afghanistan is bombing villages and killing civilians. It's an incredibly cynical line of attack, particularly when Palin (hilariously) claims this "disqualifies" Obama from being commander in chief. (Of course what Obama meant was that an overreliance on air strikes--due in part to a shortage of ground troops--is causing a tragic and strategically counterproductive level of civilian casualties.)

Here's the question someone should ask Palin: Does she have any idea why Obama brought this up in the first place? I doubt it. Maybe someone should send her this:

Like clockwork, each of these “friendly fire” incidents brings about angry demonstrations in the streets, with crowds chanting, “Death to the government — down with the foreign troops!” The latest tinder in the fire was the killing of some 90 civilians, mostly women and children, on Aug. 22 in Azizabad in Herat Province. (While the Pentagon has taken issue with the reported death count, the Afghan government and United Nations stand by the villagers’ claims.)...

The growing disillusionment caused by civilian casualties is also driving old friends away from NATO and American forces. In an interview some months ago, a man who worked alongside American forces in 2001 in Urozgan Province to protect Hamid Karzai, now the Afghan president, posed a staggering question: “You speak English, and interact with foreigners, so can you swear by the Almighty and tell me if the foreigners are on the side of the Taliban, or of the Afghan people?”

He was hardly the exception: many average Afghans find it hard to believe that America, with its tremendous military power, is having so much trouble defeating tattered bands of Taliban warriors and don’t understand why it can’t avoid continuous civilian casualties.

If Palin believes this is an illegitimate topic for debate then I should think that's the real disqualifier here.

--Michael Crowley