Many thousands of previously undiscovered Pentagon documents show that the U.S. air wars In the Middle East have been marked by “deeply flawed intelligence” and have killed thousands of civilians, many of them children, according to a shocking new report in The New York TimesSaturday afternoon
The 5-year TimesInvestigation received more than 1,300 reports on airstrikes in Iraq or Syria between September 2014 and January 2018, totaling more than 5,400 pages. None of these records indicate any wrongdoing regarding the U.S. army’s actions.
The TimesMany of the previous reports made by whistleblowers Daniel Hale and Chelsea Manning are confirmed by this reporting. For exposing the civilian toll of U.S. drone programs, whistleblower Hale was sentenced on July 27, 2021 to 45 months federal prison. “I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life,” Hale said at his sentencing.
From the Times report:
The trove of documents — the military’s own confidential assessments of more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties, obtained by The New York Times — lays bare how the air war has been marked by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and often imprecise targeting and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children, a sharp contrast to the American government’s image of war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.
The documents show, too, that despite the Pentagon’s highly codified system for examining civilian casualties, pledges of transparency and accountability have given way to opacity and impunity. The assessments were only made public in a few cases. None of the records provided include a finding or disciplinary action. Even though many survivors suffered from disabilities that required expensive medical care, less than a dozen condolences were made. Rarely are there documented efforts to identify root causes or lessons learnt.
The Obama administration’s final years saw the air campaign emerge as a fundamental change in warfare. This was amid growing unpopularity over the forever wars that had killed more than 6,000 American servicemen. The United States traded many of their boots on the ground in return for an arsenal that was controlled by controllers at computers thousands of miles away. President Barack Obama called it “the most precise air campaign in history.”
We are making public hundreds of the Pentagon’s confidential assessments of reports of civilian casualties resulting from airstrikes. These documents expose the flaws in intelligence that have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, many including children. https://t.co/D1vE9aEDYh
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 18, 2021
Dr. Assal RadSenior Research Fellow at National Iranian American Council, Reacted via Twitter:
“Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Daniel Hale were all jailed for trying the same thing. We’ve known US airstrikes have been killing civilians all this time, but the war crimes go on bc we jail the whistleblowers instead of the war criminals.”
Daniel Hale, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning have all been jailed for trying to reveal the same thing. We’ve known US airstrikes have been killing civilians all this time, but the war crimes go on bc we jail the whistleblowers instead of the war criminals. https://t.co/JUvJP2bh2C
— Assal Rad (@AssalRad) December 18, 2021
— unR̶A̶D̶A̶C̶K̶ted (@JesselynRadack) December 18, 2021
However, it would be great if the Times used their vast platform to tell more about this campaign. #FreeDanielHale. Hale was the first to show how military intelligence leads to airstrikes that kill thousands of innocent civilians. https://t.co/imeED4mpBc
— CODEPINK (@codepink) December 18, 2021
I’m absolutely not gonna discourage any NYT reporting that exposes the Pentagon. Still it’s pretty gross that this framing acts like Daniel Hale didn’t expose the nature of airstrikes years ago, at great cost to his freedom. #FreeDanielHale https://t.co/z2KiQGIX46
— Sam Carliner #FreeAssange (@saminthecan) December 18, 2021
But at least we won the wars… I mean, we, eh, we almost won? Right?
Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns Of Failure In Deadly Airstrikes https://t.co/NkERjopS65
— Richard Garcia (@rrennelgarcia) December 18, 2021