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Tag: Collateral Damage

Body Counts, Drones and ‘Collateral Damage’ (aka ‘Bug Splat’)

In the twenty-first-century world of drone warfare, one question with two aspects reigns supreme: Who counts? In Washington, the answers are the same.

Posted on May 4, 2015 READ MORE

Strikes Against Morality

I have no doubt that Obama’s regret over the unintended deaths of two men in a drone strike on a suspected al-Qaida compound is sincere. But history tells us that good-faith effort is not enough to guarantee that sound moral choices are made.

Posted on Apr 25, 2015 READ MORE

It Doesn’t Pay to Slaughter Innocents

David Rothkopf at Foreign Policy magazine points to the civilian deaths on a beach in Gaza and airspace over Ukraine to argue that using “the chaos of combat” to achieve complex political ends is futile.

Posted on Jul 18, 2014 READ MORE

U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. JT May III

WikiLeaks Reveals 6 Years of Afghanistan War Secrets

The whistle-blower website just dropped 91,000 secret documents, which were simultaneously published by The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. There are many revelations and more to come, but we already know that NATO forces appear to be responsible for hundreds of unclaimed civilian deaths and injuries ... continued.

Posted on Jul 25, 2010 READ MORE

Gates Defends U.S. Soldiers’ Actions in Infamous Video

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has defended the U.S. soldiers who were made infamous in a video released by the website Wikileaks last week, saying the critiques of those who fired upon and killed a group of reporters and civilians lack context.

Posted on Apr 11, 2010 READ MORE

Video Shows Gunning Down of Journalists and Iraqi Civilians

The website WikiLeaks has found and decrypted a 2007 video showing a U.S. Apache helicopter firing on more than a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists. The U.S. military previously denied knowing how the journalists and civilians died.

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 READ MORE

Droning On and On

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 READ MORE    

U.S. Navy / Lt. j.g. James Dietle

Order to U.S. Troops: No Firefights Near Afghan Villagers

Gen. Stanley McChrystal is rolling out a new order to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan with the hope of reducing rampant civilian casualties. If soldiers find themselves in a fight near Afghan homes, they are to “remove themselves from the area” as long as they can do so “safely, without any undue danger to the forces,” a military spokesman explained.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE

America’s Bombs Are Still Exploding in Laos

When the United States finished bombing Laos back in the early 1970s, it left behind an estimated 80 million unexploded bombs. They are still exploding, maiming an average of 300 people a year in the sparsely populated country. What horrors will our current adventures bring decades from now?

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE

USMC / Lance Cpl. Chad J. Pulliam

Airstrike Rules Broken, Pentagon Finds

U.S. forces in Afghanistan have developed a reputation for bombing first and asking questions later. According to The New York Times, an internal Pentagon investigation confirms that the rules of engagement were not followed properly during airstrikes on May 4, resulting in the deaths of 20 to 140 civilians (depending on whether you take the U.S. or Afghan estimate).

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr / trokilinochchi

20,000 Killed While No One Was Watching

The London Times reports that the final weeks of fighting in Sri Lanka’s civil war claimed more than 20,000 civilian lives, mostly at the hands of government forces. A U.N. official tells the paper the actual figure is “Higher. ... Keep going.” The government kept aid workers and reporters away during a three-week bombardment that ultimately ended the 26-year war.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE

Afghan woman mourning
AP photo / Fraidoon Pooyaa

‘Collateral Damage’ Not Much Different From Targeted Killing

When U.S. troops massacre Iraqi civilians in Haditha because their buddy has been murdered, what is the difference between their revenge and that of Saddam?

Posted on Oct 11, 2008 READ MORE

Robert Gates

Gates Sorry, Continues Dropping Bombs

It seems that “personal regret” is deemed sufficient to exculpate the U.S military after the deaths of civilians in U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Gates offered his hollow apologies and promised more accurate targeting in future attacks.

Posted on Sep 17, 2008 READ MORE

Azizabad mourners
AP photo / Fraidoon Pooyaa

Footage of Slain Afghan Civilians Revives Inquiry Into U.S. Raid

Cell-phone footage shot by a doctor in a makeshift morgue in Azizabad, Afghanistan, showing rows of dead Afghan civilians, including several children, has led to a renewed inquiry into an American-led airstrike that occurred on Aug. 22. American officials had previously insisted that only seven civilians had been killed in the attack, but they’re now having to face the possibility that the actual figure could be as high as 90.

Posted on Sep 8, 2008 READ MORE

U.S. Keeps Bombing Weddings

Apparently, the Bush administration is also against straight marriage—if you live in the desert under U.S. military occupation. Tom Engelhardt details seven years of wedding crashing in Afganistan and Iraq, and the notable lack of remorse on the part of the Pentagon.

Posted on Jul 15, 2008 READ MORE

Inquiry Finds U.S. Strike Killed Wedding Party

Imagine this happening in the U.S.: Forty-seven people, including the bride, are killed on their way to a wedding after an airstrike on “militants” goes off course. Of course, this happened not in the U.S. but in Afghanistan, and, of course, the attack’s civilian toll was initially denied by the U.S. military.

Posted on Jul 11, 2008 READ MORE

injured boy
AP Photo / Abdul Khaleq

Civilians Caught in Afghan Airstrike

A U.S.-led airstrike on a meeting of Taliban leaders killed a “large number” of civilians, witnesses said. Roughly 50 people were hospitalized for injuries. NATO has said it is considering the use of smaller bombs in order to curtail civilian casualties.

Posted on Aug 3, 2007 READ MORE

Carnage From the Air

Civilian deaths as a result of ground operations (see Haditha) often evoke cries of barbarism from the media, but the killing of innocents in airstrikes is routinely characterized as “collateral damage” and a cold fact of modern warfare. Tom Engelhardt of Tomdispatch proposes that we start to speak honestly about the devastation American military operations have rained down on Afghanistan and Iraq and see “collateral damage” for what it really is: carnage.

Posted on Jul 9, 2007 READ MORE

America’s Birthday Grab Bag

America 7-4-07: Don't let them get mixed up! You won't be able to tell who deserves ridicule and who deserves praise. Happy 231st birthday!
Posted on Jul 5, 2007 READ MORE    

child in coffin
AP Photo / Karim Kadim

A Culture of Atrocity

The veteran foreign correspondent writes that while physical courage is common on the battlefield, moral courage is not. When young men and women are sent to occupy a foreign land—whether Vietnam, Gaza or Iraq—and they encounter constant danger, a population hostile to their presence and a faceless but determined enemy, the value of human life inevitably becomes relative and killing all too quickly becomes murder.

Posted on Jun 18, 2007 READ MORE

Collateral Damage and the Origins of Mother’s Day

Cole Miller of NoMoreVictims.Org, a group that works to find medical sponsorships for injured Iraqi children, talks about the ignored victims of Iraq and the antiwar origins of Mother’s Day.

Posted on May 13, 2007 READ MORE

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