In a fervor of cross-partisan struggle and in pursuit of a bombshell, the New York Times was forced to publish hundreds of secret Pentagon records on innocent civilians that died due to reckless airstrikes conducted by the US military in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Flawed and handicapped US intelligence is a notion that the rest of the world is now getting used and alludes to when speaking about the intelligence agencies of the most “democratic” but also the most aggressive nation in the world.
The never seen before documents, obtained by the newspaper, shows (other than deeply flawed intelligence), how the rushed and often imprecise targeting by warplanes or drones in West Asia occurred during the attacks and the murder of thousands of innocent civilians, many of them children. More than 1,300 secret reports are in the hands of the paper (more than 5,400 pages in total) and the timeframe dates between September 2014 to January 2018.
The newspaper says it has conducted independent research of its own, and the results closely match much of the basic information from the Pentagon documents, but it found significant discrepancies and oversights by the Pentagon, including the location of the strikes or the number of people killed or injured following the attacks. The unveiled data on failed intelligence, faulty targeting, many civilian deaths and bare-bones paperwork is at odds with boisterous Pentagon reports, which proves that in this case the US servicemembers had committed crimes falling under the jurisdiction of international law.
President Barack Obama is widely known as being the pioneer of US air wars. Following the disastrous invasion of Iraq and the number of American military casualties between 2003 till 2011 (nearly 4,500 troops killed, some 900 contractors killed, and 32,000 soldiers injured [not including mental injuries]). The public backlash against the Iraq war casualties was immense, with calls to bring the troops home growing louder by the day. In 2016, the former American President said, “with our extraordinary technology.. we’re conducting the most precise air campaign in history.” But now it is become increasingly apparent and clear that president Obama fed the Americans and the international community with lies. The “extraordinary technology” is conducting the most imprecise air campaign in history. In the more than 50-thousand US airstrikes between 2014 and 2019, which killed thousands and possibly tens of thousands of civilians meant Obama’s initiative made America the judge of those civilians, their jury, and executioner. In just one of the hundreds of examples documented by this research, in 2016, American Special Operations forces bombed what they allegedly believed were three Daesh (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) “staging areas” on the outskirts of a riverside hamlet in northern Syria. The official announcement reported at the time was 85 terrorists were killed. The reality, as a result of the secret Pentagon documents and subsequent investigation shows there was more than 120 innocent villagers killed. No terrorists, just villagers and just bombs that fell on houses far from the front line, where farmers, their families and other local people sought nighttime sanctuary from the bombings and the gunfire. The problem is Obama can’t be reached anymore to face accountability for the “peaceful” initiative he started. Other American officials in the Pentagon share the same responsibility for intentionally undercounting and underreporting civilian fatalities.
It is believed that this is just a tip of an iceberg. Over the past few months, revelations have slowly emerged about the nature of US airstrikes and the report suggests more will be revealed; which means the US State Department will be working day and night to try and prevent that from happening. In September, The New York Times reported that a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, which US officials insisted had destroyed a vehicle laden with bombs, had instead killed 10 members of the same family. Last month, The Times reported that scores of civilians had been killed in a 2019 bombing in Syria that the American military had intentionally hidden from the public eye. Now, the Times investigation has found that these were not one-offs but rather the regular casualties of a transformed way of a secret war that has gone wrong by bad intelligence or maybe deliberately.
The very policy by the White House to use international criminals clad in a general’s uniform and State Department diplomats is despicable. In lieu of conducting a fair investigation and punishing the culprits responsible for killing innocent civilians, the “stout warriors” are awarded medals and commended, promoted and receive some sweet monetary bonuses. Meanwhile, those warriors write memoirs bragging about how they had been exterminating civilians. Barbarians! No other word comes to mind.
In the wake of the US airstrike that killed 10 Afghan civilians, the Amnesty International said: “The US must now commit to a full, transparent, and impartial investigation into this incident. Anyone suspected of criminal responsibility should be prosecuted in a fair trial. Survivors and families of the victims should be kept informed of the progress of the investigation and be given full reparation”.
No trial, however, took place. And it never will, the author should add. How is it possible to persecute “The Great Democracy” citizens? They have always skirted responsibility. Having landed on the American shores, their ancestors brutally murdered hundreds of millions of indigenous people, Native Americans, to whom this country rightfully belonged. And did any of the founding fathers suffer punishment for this? Come to think of it, when the indigenous people are exterminated, it is usually called a genocide. But, like their ancestors, representatives of the US military and political establishment have got into habit of genociding other peoples. Their “Great Democracy” philosophy is to bomb out and conquer other peoples’ lands, to appropriate their wealth. This is not mentality of normal people; it is a criminal, dog-eat-dog mentality.
The Times reported that in this case, in Kabul, “the US military was only forced to admit to its failure in this strike because of the current global scrutiny on Afghanistan. Many similar strikes in Syria, Iraq, and Somalia have happened out of the spotlight, and the US continues to deny responsibility while devastated families suffer in silence. The US must ensure that it ends unlawful strikes, consistently and thoroughly investigates all allegations of civilians harmed in attacks, and publicly discloses its findings.”
US administrations come and go, but they consistently and deftly designate other countries as “State Sponsors of Terrorism”. But the thing is that the United States itself is the state sponsor of terrorism. There is abundant evidence that can be found in the US media about Washington’s acts of state terrorism. It was the United States — and it is a well-known fact — that was the cradle of terrorism; you only have to look at their barbaric actions in numerous countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. By the way, who created Al-Qaeda and Daesh, terrorists organizations that are banned in Russia? Was not that the “democratic” United Stated?
American explosions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria brought only death and destruction, but not publicly stated goal of promoting “peace and security”. In the beltway there is wide-spread belief that the US military “underreported” the actual number of civilian casualties. The recent revelations, however, tell an absolutely different story; a story of Washington trying to cover up its own investigations, and now the world knows why. The Times reporters visited more than 100 casualty sites (!?) in three countries, interviewed victims’ family members and showed, what analysts say, is just a small fraction of reality.
However, as the latest report says, the US continues these barbarian policies as the US servicemembers sit in front of giant LCD screens pressing buttons to drop bombs, like in a videogame. But unlike videogames, their goals are real, and their deadly strikes have already killed a lot of people in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. Washington has been getting away with these crimes while Pentagon is still trying to downplay its terrorist activities. Until now, fewer than 20 of these assessments dating to late 2014 have been made public. It is high time to bring these terrorists to justice and to shield countries from these terrorist activities and to restore order in the world.
Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.