General Seeks Permission to Declassify Sites of ‘Dud’ US Strikes in Mosul

Unexploded US Bombs Are a Danger to Repairing the City

In the course of about 10 months of invading the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the US dropped massive amounts of bombs on the city, killing massive numbers of people. But while there’s been at least some documentation of places they did bomb, there’s little to no public information on where they tried to bomb.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the US commander in Iraq, is trying to declassify that information, in an effort to provide the locations of bombs the US dropped on Mosul that didn’t explode. That information, obviously, would be hugely important to Iraqis looking to make the city habitable again.

It’s something of a scandal that this isn’t done as a matter of course, given how deadly “dud” weapons can be to civilians months or even years after the war. US law, however, keeps the details classified for 25 years, which is a city of over a million people, is just way too long.

The repair of Mosul, which has sustained massive damage from the protracted war, is already complicated by ISIS booby traps and IEDs littered around the city, and experts say there are dozens or potentially even hundreds of US bombs mixed in with all that. Without declassification, the location of US bombs are as big a mystery as the location of anything ISIS left behind.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of