The First Casualty in War, is the Truth

During the pro-Hamas and anti-Israel demonstrations that have plagued the world for the past few months, protestors have told us that Israeli defense forces have killed some 34,000 Palestinians in a display of unmitigated genocide.

Just where do those figures come from? The United Nations is one source. The other is the terrorist Hamas organization itself.

Who to believe?

Apparently, neither.

Earlier this month, the UN released a report that stated the death toll among Palestinians was 34,735, including 9,500 women and 14,500 children, or at least 24,000 civilians.

But where did the UN get those numbers?

You guessed it. Hamas provided them.

However, the United Nations now concedes that this number—provided by Hamas—is wildly inaccurate. As a result, the UN has sheepishly revised its casualty figures, acknowledging that 50 percent fewer civilians have died since Israel declared war on Hamas.

Instead of 24,000 civilian deaths, the UN has reduced that number to 12,756—including just 4,959 women and 7,797 children.

That leads me to the oft-stated fact that the first casualty is always the truth in war. Both the UN and Hamas have confirmed that.

But beyond the lack of truth-telling from those two organizations is another fact.

While the death of any civilians in war is regretful, the fact is it is unavoidable.

It amazes me that there is such shock and dismay that civilians are being killed in the Israeli-Hamas war.

And don’t forget this war began when some 4,500 Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and slaughtered 1,200 Israeli civilian men, women, and children.

Israel’s response was the same as any nation when it was attacked. It counter-attacked just as the United States did when Imperial Japan attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It wasn’t long before the United States was also at war with the other two Axis powers: Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

For the next four years, American and British planes bombed Japanese, German, and Italian civilians relentlessly, killing hundreds of thousands in single raids.

Between February 13 and 15, 1945, more than 1,000 British and American planes dropped some 3,000 tons of bombs—many of them incendiary—on the German city of Dresden, killing at least 35,000 civilians, though some estimates are as high as 250,000 because of the arrival of thousands of unidentified refugees that had fled to Dresden from the Eastern Front. The German cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Nuremberg, and Munich were also largely obliterated by Allied bombing attacks, and hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed.

               Aftermath of Dresden Fire-bombing, Feb 13-15, 1945

Where was the outrage?

Between March 9-10, 1945, 279 Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers of the U.S. Army Air Force firebombed Tokyo, Japan, with 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs, killing 100,000 Japanese civilians and leaving another one million homeless. It is still considered the single most destructive air attack in human history. The Japanese called the bombing the “Night of the Black Snow” because of the ashes of charred bodies that saturated the air.

Charred Japanese Civilians after Tokyo fire-bombing, March 9-10, 1945

Where was the anger?

The answer: There was neither rage nor remorse. It was total war, and that meant civilians were targets, just like soldiers. By the time World War II ended in August 1945, almost 45 million Allied and Axis civilians were dead, making it the deadliest war for civilians in recorded history.

And by the way, for the pro-Hamas morons who continue to call for the annihilation of Israel and its people, six million of those 45 million were Jews, a majority of whom were murdered in scores of Nazi extermination camps.

Now, here we are in 2024, almost 80 years since the end of World War II, and Jews are still fighting for their survival.

Meanwhile, they are being condemned by an American president for the deaths of Palestinian civilians—a majority of whom consider Israel their deadly enemy. They would like nothing more than to see Hamas exterminate every Jew in the Middle East.

I wonder how that fact makes Israeli combatants feel when they are fighting inside Gaza and in Hamas strongholds such as Rafah.

Are they especially cautious when it comes to civilians, who, for all they know, are Hamas fighters?

Are IDF soldiers overly concerned about civilian casualties when they can’t tell a Hamas fighter from a civilian?

No major media platform, except Fox News, has reported on the revised UN numbers. The Israel advocacy group HonestReporting noted this a few days ago, adding that the old casualty figures “continue to be parroted by various media outlets.”

Never in my wildest imagination could I ever have foreseen the day when America’s mainstream media would support a terrorist organization such as Hamas by covering up for its deliberate distortion of civilian casualty figures.

I presume it’s only a matter of time before America’s legacy media begins parroting pro-Hamas demonstrators with headlines and on-air chants of “From the River to the Sea.”

In the meantime, truth will continue to be a casualty in Israel’s war of survival.


(Ronald E. Yates is a U.S. Army veteran, an author, a former Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent, and Professor and dean Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois.)

His website:

If you enjoyed this article, then please REPOST or SHARE with others; encourage them to follow AFNN. If you’d like to become a citizen contributor for AFNN, contact us at Help keep us ad-free by donating here.

Substack: American Free News Network Substack
Truth Social: @AFNN_USA
CloutHub: @AFNN_USA
Patriot.Online: @AFNN

Leave a Comment