Another war, another case of understated atrocities. According to a report by the NYT, which investigated some 150 airstrike sites across northern Iraq, the U.S. military has vastly under-reported the number of civilian casualties that resulted from its airstrikes.
According to official U.S. statistics, only one out of every 157 airstrikes leads to civilian deaths (at 28,418 strikes, that’s only 181 strikes that have led to deaths). If taken at face value, these statistics seem ridiculously low even by the usual pro-war propagandistic standards.
But the NYT found one of every five airstrikes leads to civilian deaths (albeit based on their relatively small sample of 150) — or 5683 strikes, a number that is at least 31 times higher than official figures.
A previous estimate done in May by nonprofit group Airwars had put the number of civilian deaths at around 3100, 8 times higher than official U.S. military estimates. With 5683 strikes causing one or more deaths, the number of innocent lives lost could be MUCH higher.
One of the main reasons for the low official statistics, according to the NYT, has to do with the military’s claim that it has “no record” of carrying out a strike at the time or place where one had occurred — basically that kid who glances around innocently saying “it wasn’t me” as his target rubs a spitball off his face. The mainstream media takes this claim at face value and the blame gets shifted to one of the other actors in the area.
Other reasons include civilians who happened to wander into the blast zone in the seconds it would take for the bomb to strike its target.
The report, however, finds several problems with the dates and locations of strikes when juxtaposed with the activity recorded in the official logs.
In half of the airstrikes that caused civilian deaths, there was “no discernible ISIS target nearby.” Strikes were planned with “poor or outdated intelligence.” Civilians who happened to be near ISIS targets were also “considered guilty until proven innocent,” and survivors “remain marked as possible ISIS sympathizers, with no discernible path to clear their names.”
Basically, strikes often occur when ISIS isn’t nearby, due to the use of carelessly researched data by a system that cares not an iota of civilian casualties beyond what it can get away with, without being exposed by the ever-compliant mainstream media.
Civilians are actively considered targets if ISIS happens to be nearby, and in order to keep statistics low, these civilians must be hunted down with extreme prejudice; dead men tell no tales.
The report mentions an actual example of the human cost of the ongoing war on terror/ ISIS. Bassim Razzo was asleep when the U.S. dropped a bomb on him, destroying his home and his brother’s next door. His wife, daughter, brother, and nephew were all killed in the strike. That very day, the U.S. military uploaded a video of the strike to YouTube, claiming victory against “ISIS” where only tragedy could be found.
Considering its unstable definitions of “moderate rebel” and “terrorist“, it should come as no surprise that “happy family home” often gets mixed up with “car-bomb-making facility”. Anyone remember the wedding bombings and the “war crime” Doctor Without Borders hospitals? Well, mistakes were made and nobody seems to be learning anything…
The NYT report also noted that there is “a consistent failure by the coalition to investigate claims properly or to keep records that make it possible to investigate the claims at all”, which means that the U.S. military has learned something: how to cover its tracks by not bothering to keep records, and how to avoid being called to account by refusing to conduct real investigation in battlefields where the mainstream media is often reporting from too far away.
What about whistle-blowers? Fat chance getting one of those after the American public allowed Bradley Manning… ahem, Chelsea Manning to suffer through all that insanity-inducing solitary confinement.