According to the New York Times, newly released Pentagon data indicates that US air battles in the Middle East led to thousands of civilian casualties, many of them being kids.
Documents showing almost 1,300 civilian deaths contradict the government’s presentation of a battle waged with pinpoint bombs. Responsibility and accountability, it added, have frequently been broken.
The publication said in the first of a two-part article that no findings of misconduct or disciplinary action were presented.
Several of the Times’ instances were previously published, but its examination revealed the number of civilian casualties was “dramatically undercounted” by several hundreds.
Vulnerabilities in Surveillance
On July 19, 2016, US special operations forces bombed three Islamic State staging camps in northern Syria, citing three cases. Initially, 85 soldiers were slain. Instead, 120 farmers and people died.
In late November 2015, a guy was spotted bringing an unidentified heavy item into an Islamic State stronghold in Ramadi, Iraq. The reviewed “item” was a youngster who perished in the strike.
The Pentagon noted insufficient surveillance video often contributed to lethal targeting errors.
But there are several ways available intelligence can mislead, fall short, or at times lead to disastrous errors.
And available data can be misinterpreted
— JenSen Yermi (@agenmossad) December 18, 2021
Previously, the US had to withdraw claims that a car struck by a drone in August had explosives. The strike claimed the lives of ten people, including children.
The paper claims many civilian survivors of US bombings had infirmities needing costly care, yet condolence payouts were scarce.
Captain Bill Urban, the spokesperson for US Central Command, told the Times even with the finest technology, errors occur because of insufficient or misinterpreted information. They strive to learn from their errors.
They try hard to prevent injuries. They look into every report. They mourn each innocent life lost.
Unnoticed From Above
Airpower in the Middle East rose quickly during former President Obama’s tenure, while popular support for apparently interminable ground conflicts faded.
Obama called the new method, which typically uses remote-controlled unmanned planes, “the most accurate air campaign in history.”
This technological innovation allowed the Pentagon to demolish half a home full of enemy forces while leaving the remainder standing. Over 50,000 airstrikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria were carried out with less than claimed precision during five years.
The Times said its journalists visited over 100 death sites and interviewed hundreds of survivors, current and former US officials.
The newspaper got the Pentagon records through FOIA petitions and litigation against the Defense Department and Central Command. A new lawsuit seeks Afghan documents.
The military must follow extensive standards to assess and minimize civilian casualties before air attacks; however, accessible intelligence can mislead, fail, or even lead to tragic blunders.
If there's a way to stop hypersonic missile attacks, it will likely rely upon data sharing, high-speed data processing and artificial intelligence. https://t.co/kR5v1wBf0U
— National Interest (@TheNatlInterest) December 17, 2021
According to the Times, aerial footage does not reveal individuals in houses, greenery, tarpaulin, or aluminum coverings. Also, data can be misunderstood, like when civilians racing to a new bombing location are mistaken for terrorists.
According to the Times, the “signature” of an impending assault was sometimes merely guys on motorbikes. Captain Urban, the spokesperson for Central Command, said air war strategists work hard under challenging conditions.
According to him, the fog of war may lead to judgments that fatally injure civilians in numerous combat settings where marksmen encounter realistic threat streams and lack time.