MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Warren, Jacobs Accuse Pentagon of Vastly Undercounting Civilians Killed by US Military – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on December 25, 2022

“This vast difference between independent reporting and the DOD investigation raises concerns and undermines DOD credibility on civilian casualty reporting,” Warren and Jacobs stressed.

Civilian populations always take the most heat. what makes it worse is when the wrong countries are invaded. Iraq and Afghanistan for 9/11 to name two.

https://original.antiwar.com/Brett_Wilkins/2022/12/22/warren-jacobs-accuse-pentagon-of-vastly-undercounting-civilians-killed-by-us-military/

by Brett Wilkins

As U.S. military forces continue to kill and wound civilians in multiple countries during the ongoing 21-year War on Terror while chronically undercounting such casualties, a pair of Democratic lawmakers on Monday asked the Pentagon to explain discrepancies in noncombatant casualty reporting and detail steps being taken to address the issue.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) – who have both led calls to hold the military accountable for harming noncombatants – said they are “troubled” that the Pentagon’s annual civilian casualty report, which was released in September as required by an amendment Warren attached to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), again undercounts noncombatants killed by US forces.

“In this year’s report, the department reported that approximately 12 civilians were killed and five were injured in Afghanistan and Somalia as a result of US military operations during 2021,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, the report did not admit to any civilian deaths in Syria, despite credible civilian casualty monitors documenting at least 15 civilian deaths and 17 civilian injuries in Syria in 2021.”

The U.K.-based monitor group Airwars counted between 12 and 25 civilians likely killed by US forces, sometimes operating with coalition allies, in Syria alone last year, with another two to four people killed in Somalia and one to four killed in Yemen.

Airwars does not track civilians killed or wounded in Afghanistan, where all of last year’s casualties acknowledged by the Department of Defense (DOD) occurred. These incidents include an errant August 29 drone strike that killed 10 people – most of them members of one family – including seven children.

“The report also appeared to undercount additional civilian casualties from Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) that occurred prior to 2021,” the lawmakers’ letter continues, referring to the anti-Islamic State campaign launched during the Obama administration and ramped up under then-President Donald Trump – who infamously vowed to “bomb the shit out of” ISIS militants and “take out their families.” 

“For example, the report… only disclosed four civilians killed and 15 civilians injured as a result of the March 18, 2019 strike in Baghuz, Syria,” the lawmakers noted. “But The New York Times investigated this strike in 2021, finding evidence that the military concealed the extent of the civilian casualties, and according to Airwars, local sources alleged that the strike resulted in at least 160 civilian deaths, including up to 45 children.”

“This vast difference between independent reporting and the DOD investigation raises concerns and undermines DOD credibility on civilian casualty reporting,” Warren and Jacobs stressed.

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