The Pentagon claims that its air war against ISIS is one of the most accurate in history and that it is so careful in who it targets that the 14,000 US airstrikes in Iraq have killed just 89 civilians.
It turns out that the military’s assertion is a stunning underestimation of the true human cost of Washington’s three-year-old war against ISIS.
An 18-month-long investigation by the New York Times has found that the US-led military coalition is killing civilians in Iraq at a rate 31 times higher than it’s admitting.
“It is at such a distance from official claims that, in terms of civilian deaths, this may be the least transparent war in recent American history,” Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal report.
The US-led coalition claims that one civilian has been killed in every 157 airstrikes, but Khan and Gopal report that, actually, the rate is one civilian death for every five airstrikes – a rate 31 times as high as what the military claims.
Despite the advanced military techniques the coalition uses, however, it still cannot stop killing noncombatants because the US and its allies choose to fight ISIS primarily from the skies – it was inevitable that civilians would become collateral damage.