Thousands of previously hidden Pentagon documents reveal that the US air wars in the Middle East were marked by « deeply flawed intelligence, » killing thousands of civilians, including many children, according to a shocking new report in the New York Times on Saturday afternoon.
The Times 5-year investigation received more than 1,300 reports of air strikes in Iraq and Syria from September 2014 to January 2018, a total of more than 5,400 pages. Neither of these records shows any findings of wrongdoing in relation to the actions of the US military.
The Times coverage corroborates many of the earlier reports by whistleblowers Daniel Hale, Chelsea Manning, and others. On July 27, 2021, the whistleblower Hale was sentenced to 45 months federal prison for exposing the true number of civilians through the US drone program. « I’m here because I stole something I could never take – precious human life, » said Hale when he was convicted.
The fund of documents – the military’s own confidential assessments of more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties submitted to the New York Times – reveals how the aerial warfare was marked by deeply flawed intelligence, rash and often imprecise aiming, and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children, in sharp contrast to the American government’s image of war wielded by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.
The documents also show that despite the Pentagon’s highly codified system for investigating civilian victims, the promise of transparency and accountability has given way to opacity and impunity. The ratings were only published in a few cases. Not a single record provided contains a finding of misconduct or disciplinary action. Fewer than a dozen condolences were paid, although many survivors with disabilities were left who required expensive medical care. Documented efforts to determine the root causes or lessons learned are rare.
The air campaign represents a fundamental shift in warfare that occurred in the last few years of the Obama administration amid the increasing unpopularity of the Eternal Wars, which challenged more than 6,000 American soldiers had, took shape. The United States traded many of its boots on the ground for an arsenal of aircraft piloted by air traffic controllers sitting at computers, often thousands of kilometers away. President Barack Obama called it « the most precise aerial campaign in history. »
We publish hundreds of the Pentagon’s confidential assessments of reports of civilian casualties in airstrikes. The documents reveal how faulty intelligence services killed thousands of innocent civilians, including many children. https://t.co/D1vE9aEDYh
“Daniel Hale, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning have all been arrested for trying to expose the same thing. We know US air strikes have killed civilians all along, but the war crimes continue because we imprison the whistleblowers instead of the war criminals. ”
Daniel Hale, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning were all jailed for trying to reveal the same thing. We know US air strikes have killed civilians all along, but the war crimes continue because we imprison the whistleblowers instead of the war criminals. https://t.co/JUvJP2bh2C
But the other victims are the #whistleblowers who exposed it. #DanielHale is in jail. My 12 other clients fight against PTSD, addiction, moral harm. & suicide.
Still, it would be nice if the Times used their huge platform to say more about the #FreeDanielHale campaign. After all, Hale was the first to reveal how military intelligence resulted in thousands of innocent civilians being killed in air strikes. https://t.co/imeED4mpBc
I am absolutely not going to discourage NYT coverage exposing the Pentagon. Still, it’s pretty disgusting that these framing acts like Daniel Hale didn’t expose the nature of air strikes years ago, which cost his freedom. #FreeDanielHale https://t.co/z2KiQGIX46
But at least we won the wars … I mean, we, uh, we almost won? Right? Hidden Pentagon records reveal failure patterns in fatal air strikes https://t.co/NkERjopS65
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