Azmat Khan's "Hidden Petnagon Records Reveal Patterns Of Failure In Deadly Airstrikes" is up at THE NEW YORK TIMES. It's the first part in a series. The article's subheading is "The promise was a war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs. The documents show flawed intelligence, faulty targeting, years of civilian deaths -- and scant accountability." It opens:
Shortly before 3 a.m. on July 19, 2016, American Special Operations forces bombed what they believed were three ISIS “staging areas” on the outskirts of Tokhar, a riverside hamlet in northern Syria. They reported 85 fighters killed. In fact, they hit houses far from the front line, where farmers, their families and other local people sought nighttime sanctuary from bombing and gunfire. More than 120 villagers were killed.
In early 2017 in Iraq, an American war plane struck a dark-colored vehicle, believed to be a car bomb, stopped at an intersection in the Wadi Hajar neighborhood of West Mosul. Actually, the car had been bearing not a bomb but a man named Majid Mahmoud Ahmed, his wife and their two children, who were fleeing the fighting nearby. They and three other civilians were killed.
In November 2015, after observing a man dragging an “unknown heavy object” into an ISIS “defensive fighting position,” American forces struck a building in Ramadi, Iraq. A military review found that the object was actually “a person of small stature” — a child — who died in the strike.
None of these deadly failures resulted in a finding of wrongdoing.
These cases are drawn from a hidden Pentagon archive of the American air war in the Middle East since 2014.
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. In only a handful of cases were the assessments made public. Not a single record provided includes a finding of wrongdoing or disciplinary action. Fewer than a dozen condolence payments were made, even though many survivors were left with disabilities requiring expensive medical care. Documented efforts to identify root causes or lessons learned are rare.
The air campaign represents a fundamental transformation of warfare that took shape in the final years of the Obama administration, amid the deepening unpopularity of the forever wars that had claimed more than 6,000 American service members. The United States traded many of its boots on the ground for an arsenal of aircraft directed by controllers sitting at computers, often thousands of miles away. President Barack Obama called it “the most precise air campaign in history.”
This was the promise: America’s “extraordinary technology” would allow the military to kill the right people while taking the greatest possible care not to harm the wrong ones.
Yeah, they covered it up. It was only new and surprising to you if you ever believed that these were precision strikes to begin with. And if you want to get honest with yourself, maybe you might ask if you believed that because you wanted to? Because it made it easier for you?
The government lied, no question. But a lot of us knew it real time. If you're just now catching up, maybe you need to take a look at yourself and wonder how that happened?
Civilians were murdered. That's what it was. It was 'quick' and it was 'cheap.' And that's all mattered to some.
Human life -- and respect for it -- never entered the picture.
Grasp that. And expand that enough to grasp that the Mosul Operation was never about saving the people of Mosul. It was about the US putting an end to a very visible and obvious failure that went to how bad the govenment that they installed in Iraq was.
ISIS taking over Mosul was an indictment of the ongoing US government actions in Iraq. And a lot of lies were told to cover that up or to kick the can backwards so that the problems were all in the past and caused solely by Bully Boy Bush. Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal, no question. But the press sure was found of pretending everything after 2009 in Iraq was Bully Boy Bush's fault. They loved to whore for Barack. That's how ISIS gets pinned on Bully Boy by some. ISIS is the direct result of Barack and Joe Biden overruling the Iraqi voters -- who voted Nouri al-Maliki out in 2010 -- with The Erbil Agreement that gave thug Nouri a second term.
A lot of lying and lot of whoring went down.
Maybe some of the truth Azmat and THE TIMES are offering right now will force some reflection.
The following sites updated: