Under President Donald Trump’s recklessly loose rules of engagement, the military is slaughtering civilians in Iraq and Syria at a terrifying rate. Monitoring agency AirWars is projecting that the Coalition Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-dominated military coalition fighting to dislodge Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) has killed nearly a thousand people just in the month of March.
1) Given record Coalition civilian casualty claims – with 1,000 deaths already alleged in March – Airwars is making some major changes pic.twitter.com/nbTIbB8b5Q
— Airwars (@airwars) March 24, 2017
Over the weekend, the Pentagon admitted to launching an airstrike on a Daeshi truck bomb in the crowded civilian neighborhood of al-Jadida in Mosul, Iraq, which leveled the surrounding area and killed as many as 200 people.
CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel said in a statement that “The death of innocent civilians in Mosul is a terrible tragedy. We are investigating the incident to determine exactly what happened and will continue to take extraordinary measure to avoid harming civilians.”
But it’s clear they’re doing the exact opposite. Mosul civil defense forces told The New Arab that US airstrikes have killed 511 civilians in the past week alone, including 187 children under the age of 15.
On March 16th, US airstrikes hit a mosque complex in al-Jinnah, Syria, killing at least 46 innocents.
On March 22nd, US airstrikes hit a school in Raqqa, killing at least 33 refugees.
Mosques. Schools. Crowded neighborhoods. These are the kinds of places that the Trump administration has authorized airstrikes against, unless we are to believe reports that say the Trump administration has given carte blanche to the Pentagon when it comes to strike authorization.
While the Obama administration did authorize thousands of airstrikes and did kill civilians, the staggering difference between January and March can only be attributed to the change in presidency. Civilians are now being killed so frequently that monitoring agencies can’t keep up; AirWars announced that they’ve had to stop tracking Russian airstrikes because the US is now killing more innocents than Putin is.
It’s obvious that President Trump has told his generals to greatly accelerate the campaign against Daesh and that he wants results as quickly as possibly, no matter the cost. Knowing how selfish and callous Trump really is, this sudden desire to defeat Daesh is not out of any kind of humanitarian desire to free the people of Iraq and Syria but just so that he can go on television and have his “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” moment where he mocks President Obama for being weak.
The comparison to George W. Bush’s notorious moment of hubris after the fall of Baghdad during the 2003 Iraq War is an apt one, because it appears Trump is approaching this campaign with just as little planning for life after “victory.”
Leaving the cities of Mosul and Raqqa in devastated ruins with a decimated civilian population will do absolutely nothing to protect the United States from terrorism. Though the cities may fall, the idea of Daesh will survive long after all the “bad guys” are dead. It will only be a matter of time before Daesh is back again, flying a different black flag but fueled by the same nihilistic hatred.
“If you’re doing a lot of damage to civilians, ISIS is going to be able to shape the message, external to Raqqa or external to Mosul, or wherever it is. And now you increase the likelihood that you’re going to fight this exact same fight in another city on another day” says retired U.S. Army judge advocate Lt. Col. Jay Morse.
What is the point of freeing people from Daesh if their families are dead?
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.