01.08.2017 Author: Grete Mautner

Pentagon Enjoys Impunity in Spite of the Rapidly Mounting Civilian Death Toll

7846345235Somehow most of us grew accustomed to various media sources reporting horrific crimes against civilians committed by US servicemen in various regions of the world on the daily basis.

For instance, yet another air raid launched by US Air Force on July 25 in Afghanistan claimed a number of civilian lives. Eight people fell dead, including women and children. For local residents the fact that the area where the attack occurred is being contested by pro-government forces and various militant groups is yesterday’s news. However, as eyewitnesses argue, this time the strikes were aimed against civilians. There’s been reports that those who were trying to provide first aid to the victims of the air strike were outraged by the number of wounded minors. It’s curious that the contested Nangarhar province is located on the very border with Pakistan, so there are no large cities where hitting one’s designated target may be tricky. Americans have been bombing the area for a long time.

Under the conditions of self-declared military intervention, local authorities are forced to bear with with the fact that the death of a singled terrorist killed by US and NATO soldiers would be accompanied by a number of civilian lives lost in the process. However, the best the Pentagon has ever done for the relatives of its victims was the offering of pathetic condolences accompanied by a promise to “investigate the incident”. Just a few days ago US aircraft would “mistakenly” bomb an Afghan military base in the province of Helmand, claiming the lives of 17 Afghan policemen.

American air raids usually result in destroyed Afghanistan schools, as it was on July 15, when yet another school was attacked from the sky in the town of Kunduz, and destroyed hospitals, like the one run by Doctors Without Borders that was destroyed by a coalition air strike last October. Back then a total 24 people was murdered, including 12 medical practitioners and three children. Even wedding ceremonies that can be pretty massive in Afghanistan are not immune to such US and NATO attacks, as it happened in November in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, when a single US air strike would claim a total of 95 civilians lives, while leaving another 50 people injured.

In the first half of 2017 alone a total of 5243 civilians suffered injuries during various skirmishes, with 1,662 of them suffering lethal injuries and 3,581 suffering non-lethal injured, says a report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Women and children are still suffering the most from the conflict. According to the above mentioned report, in the first 6 months of 2017, 174 women were killed and 462 injured. UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto has recently noted that Afghans continue to die, get injured, and be forced to abandon their homes to escape violence.

In Syria and Iraq, the death toll is even higher. The UN and human rights organizations are outraged, since they have long been accusing Washington of neglecting international law and the basic safety of the people they claim to be protecting. But nobody seems to listen.

For instance, the campaign that the West launched to pursue the liberation of Iraq turned out to be no less brutal than the war that was raging in the country. In spite of all sorts of statements that Washington would make about the so-called high precision strikes it would allegedly carry out in Mosul, a number of American media sources would publish satellite images of the city virtually reduced to ruins. According to the Independent, more than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from ISIS – a death toll far higher than was previously estimated.

It is necessary to conduct an independent investigation of the crimes committed against civilians of Iraqi Mosul. This statement was made by the international human rights organization known as Amnesty International. According to the human rights defenders, the US-led coalition conducted a “series of merciless and illegal attacks” in Mosul. In particular, it is asserted that the coalition has been using highly explosive and inaccurate ordinance. As it’s been stressed by the Amnesty International, the battle for Mosul led to a true humanitarian disaster.

But the strikes are being carried on, as it’s been reported the recent strike carried out by the US-led coalition last week against a prison in Syria’s Rakka, where ISIS would hold its hostages, resulted in a total of 30 people killed.

Syria’s civilian population is dying in hundreds at the hands of US servicemen that have no legal justification to even be present in Syria. The mounting death toll has been carefully tracked by the Airwars portal.

To mislead the international community and hide the true extent of the crimes that are being committed by US servicemen in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, thus preventing an international investigation from giving a careful evaluation of the bloody role that Washington played in the destruction of the Middle East, Washington has been routinely accusing Damascus of chemical weapons usage.

Just last June, the White House would announce that US intelligence sources were in possession of reports about the alleged preparations carried out by Syrian authorities to launch a chemical attack. These reports were followed by unfounded accusations against Damascus voiced by the opposition forces.

However, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford has been forced to publicly acknowledge that the Pentagon has no grounds to suspect the Syrian government of any instances of chemical weapons use.

However, the international community has every ground to accuse the United States of committing war crimes in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, where hundreds of civilians continue to perish due to indiscriminate American air raids, yet, no one has been brought to justice so far.

Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” 


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