It’s no real mystery that the Pentagon’s “official” civilian death toll from its airstrikes in places like Iraq is low, often insultingly low. But just what is the real death toll? New investigations suggest it’s much worse than anyone knew.
The New York Times was able to find survivors of US airstrikes. One video the US released in 2015, supposedly destroying two ISIS facilities near Mosul, actually showed the survivor’s home and his brother’s home being destroyed by airstrikes.
Four civilian family members were killed in those attacks, but in the official Pentagon figures, they were all labeled ISIS. This was not an isolated incident, as the New York Times reported over 31 times more civilians killed than the Pentagon would admit to.
The Pentagon loudly brags about its “accuracy,” and claims civilians are killed only roughly once every 157 strikes. The real figure, analysts suggest, is more likely to be about one in every 5 airstrikes.
This is a consequence both of the Pentagon not making serious efforts to keep track of who they are killing, and being interested in selling themselves as being unduly careful. This means that even when there is good evidence they killed civilians, it’s rare indeed for the Pentagon to consider them anything but suspects.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
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