Bagdhad (GPA) – A new report by The New York Times (NYT) adds credibility to what many people have been saying for a long time: The Pentagon is lying about civilian casualty numbers in Iraq.
For the last year or so the US media (including the NYT) has been subjecting their audiences to the repeated claims of The Pentagon that the war against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq is “one of the most precise bombing campaigns in history“. Now, however, it seems the Times finally decided to do some actual reporting after months of the independent media trying to tell the truth about Iraq.
These claims by the US-led coalition that have been reported with a straight face by the media included seemingly impossible feats, such as the time coalition bombs managed to kill over 1,000 ISIS fighters without a single civilian death. These lies weren’t even the result of bad reporting, they were a result of outlets like the Times doing what they always do; parroting the direct line of power.
— Gen. Dave Goldfein (@GenDaveGoldfein) September 13, 2016
Yet now it seems outlets like the Times can no longer – or have motives not to – ignore the reality of the anti-IS campaign.
The times made this sudden shift in editorial policy in a long-form report published yesterday which centers around one man from Mosul, Bassim Razzo, whose family was killed in a late night US airstrike on their home. The report is not all about Razzo though and also has some crucial information gathered by Times reporters over 18 months beginning in April 2016.
Not only did the reporters include the horrifying story of one man, but Times reporters also visited over 150 sites in IS-controlled areas. Upon investigation of these sites, the Times reporters were horrified to find out that the actual number of civilian casualties compared to the ridiculous number given by the Pentagon.
While the Pentagon was claiming there was “one civilian dead for every 157 bombings,” the Times reporters calculations led to an estimate of at least one civilian death per every 5 bombings. This number means that the amount of casualties is actually around 31% higher than that reported by the coalition, and given that this is the war-boosters at the Times, this number is still likely to turn out to be low.
The US coalition has already conducted over 27,500 strikes during the course of the anti-IS campaign which includes everything from runs by heavy bombers to drone strikes. Some Coalition strikes during the campaign to retake Mosul were so devastatingly inaccurate that single bombing runs often resulted in dozens of civilian deaths, including a strike in March which killed over 100.
And this is only in Iraq.
The US coalition also operates on the other side of the Iraqi border in Syria, where the civilian casualty numbers were over 2,000 just in the period between January and July of this year. However, according to the official number, as reported by the Coalition two months later in September, the official civilian death toll was only 685.
This is the period in which the US regime changed and the new President, Donald Trump, loosened the rules of engagement for the Coalition. The change in these rules for the military has led some to predict that casualty rates are likely to more than double from Obama regime levels.
This shows just how unrealistic the claims of this being the “most precise air war” in history are total fabrications. Everyone has known the US has been rounding their casualty numbers way down since the anti-IS bombing began. This isn’t a problem of either Trump or Obama as individuals, but one of an empire. The empire has no regard for life and as long as it continues to covet the Middle East, the death is likely to continue.
Oh, and as far as the New York Times is concerned: They may be over this war but you can bet they’ll be cheering the next one.
An audio version of the Times report is available here.