Pentagon’s Latest Report on Civilians Killed in Iraq, Syria Airstrikes Ignores Most Reports

Monthly report continues trend of massive undercount of deaths

The Pentagon has released its monthly report on civilians killed in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria overnight Wednesday. Once again, the result is a massive undercount of the deaths documented by various NGOs like Airwars.

The new report looked at 84 reports of civilian deaths, but chose to ignore 78 of them as “non-credible.” This is roughly on par with past reports, which ignore most of the biggest incidents this way. Of the six incidents they admitted to, they acknowledged 14 civilian deaths. All told, they’ve only added 55 killed in the past four months.

This brings the overall deaths in the war, from the official perspective, to 855 civilians. This is less than a seventh of the figure Airwars has documented, of 6,238 civilians killed in US-coalition strikes since the war began.

The Pentagon mostly gets away with this by making no specific attempt to their own to check who they kill in various airstrikes against populated areas. Rather, they wait for someone to complain about the deaths including civilians, and then, usually long after the fact, they make very cursory attempts to examine what happened. With the slain long since buried, they often just determine there’s no way to figure out what happened, and decide the allegation must be non-credible.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.