Thursday November 23, 2017
The US-led coalition against ISIS has vastly played down the number of civilians that have been killed in Iraq as a result of their own airstrikes. In fact, the war against ISIS may be the "least transparent war in recent American history."
The conclusion comes from a report published by the New York Times. Reporters Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal spent 18 months investigating coalition bombing in Iraq, traveling to more than 150 sites of airstrikes across the northern part of the country. Their goal was to determine which air force launched which strikes — and whom they killed.
The US-led coalition has admitted to killing civilians in a tiny minority of airstrikes. According to official figures, one civilian has been killed for every 157 airstrikes. In reality, Khan and Gopal found the actual rate is one civilian died for every five airstrikes. That means the rate of civilian deaths is 31 times higher than the US military has admitted.
The report said the most common justification given by the coalition when denying civilian casualty allegations is that it has “no record” of carrying out a strike at the time or area in question. This response, which amounts to brushing off the allegation, places the blame at someone else’s feet. The military wash their hands of the incident, and there is very little probing by politicians or the media after that.