US Hid True Toll of Air Wars; Thousands of Dead Civilians, Many of Them Children

Thousands of previously hidden Pentagon documents show that the US air wars in the Middle East have been marked by “deeply flawed intelligence” and have killed thousands of civilians, many of them children, according to a shocking new report in the New York Times Saturday afternoon.

The 5-year Times investigation received more than 1,300 reports examining airstrikes in Iraq and Syria from September 2014 to January 2018, more than 5,400 pages in all. None of these records show any findings of wrongdoing on the actions of the US military.

The Times reporting confirms many of the previous reports by whistleblowers Daniel Hale, Chelsea Manning and others. On July 27, 2021, whistleblower Hale was sentenced to 45 months in federal prison for exposing the true civilian toll of the US drone program. “I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life,” Hale said at his sentencing.

From the Times report:

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.”

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Following Debacles In Iraq And Afghanistan, Failed Interventionists Are Now Agitating For Wars In Ukraine And Taiwan

If you thought for one moment that the embarrassing multi-decade debacle in Afghanistan would lead to some soul-searching from the failed interventionists responsible for America’s 21st-century Vietnam, think again. Instead of taking a step back to understand exactly why and how their grandiose plans to use the mightiest military in history to impose a top-down, secular, Western-style democracy didn’t quite pan out, they’re doubling down on failure.

When you’re a hammer, everything is a nail, and when you’re a global interventionist, wars fix everything. This time, their target is Ukraine. And Taiwan. Because why start a war with Russia when you can start a war with Russia and a war with China?

According to the same foreign policy blob that brought us such hits as “Saddam Hussein is going to nuke us with all his WMDs” and “Donald Trump is totally getting blackmailed by Vladimir Putin over a magical sex tape,” America needs to prepare for war with Russia because Russia is allegedly massing troops on…its own border with Ukraine.

America’s porous border with Mexico, across which hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have been flooding unimpeded since the day President Joe Biden took office, is apparently no big deal at all and not remotely worthy of an American military presence. But Ukraine’s border with Russia? To the failed foreign policy blob, that is priority numero uno.

The Russia-Ukraine border must be defended, with American blood and treasure, at all costs. And if you suggest that maybe America should fix America’s border first, it’s because you’re racist or something.

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The Media’s Lies About Colin Powell’s Lies

Former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Colin Powell received virtually wall-to-wall adulation in corporate media coverage of his death last week.

In the New York Times (10/19/21), Bret Stephens called Powell “an exemplary military leader and presidential adviser.” Stephens’ Times colleague Maureen Dowd (10/23/21) said Powell was “the best America had to offer” and a “great man.” Theodore R. Johnson wrote in the same paper (10/21/21) that “we should take inspiration from Mr. Powell’s accomplishments.”

Powell led, as David Ignatius tells it in the Washington Post (10/18/21), an “extraordinary life of service,” characterized by “a sterling career of public service.” Like Ignatius, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal (10/21/21) lacked a thesaurus, describing Powell as “a great man” and one of “the great ones.” In another Journal piece, Paula Dobriansky (10/20/21) called him “a true inspiration and a model not only for military leaders and diplomats but all Americans,” a “hero of our time.”

This gratuitous fawning deflects readers from reckoning with Powell’s record. Consider the heinous acts the “great man” admitted to carrying out in Vietnam.  (See Consortium News7/8/96.) In his memoir, My American Journey, Powell said of his unit in Vietnam: “We burned down the thatched huts, starting the blaze with Ronson and Zippo lighters.” The “hero of our time” wrote:

Why were we torching houses and destroying crops?  Ho Chi Minh had said the people were like the sea in which his guerrillas swam…. We tried to solve the problem by making the whole sea uninhabitable. In the hard logic of war, what difference did it make if you shot your enemy or starved him to death?

Similarly, Powell’s “sterling career of public service” involved obstructing the truth of US war crimes in Vietnam. After the My Lai Massacre, when Powell was an Army major posted in Saigon, he was tasked with investigating a soldier’s letter describing US barbarism against the Vietnamese (Columbia Journalism Review4/3/09). Powell denied the charges, writing, “In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.”

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Biden Isn’t Withdrawing Troops From Iraq, He’s Relabeling Their Mission

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President Biden announced last week that Washington will end its combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year. However, these long-serving U.S. soldiers are not coming home: many of the 2,500 American service members are expected to remain in the country for “training and advisory” purposes.

The United States and Iraq had issued a joint statement in April that the U.S. combat mission would be ending, but the timeline remained unclear. The timing of the recent announcement appears intended to boost Kadhimi’s prospects in October’s parliamentary elections — he faces domestic demands to oust U.S. forces, yet remains dependent on American support to maintain some semblance of control.

Many of the militia groups he now struggles to control initially assembled to fight the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, starting in 2014. The Popular Mobilization Forces, or al-Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbī, many of whose fighters are Iraqi Shi’a, were supported by both the U.S. and Iran to defeat the  Islamic State. The mobilization of these militias would not have been necessary if Paul Bremer and the Pentagon had not made the foolish decision to disband Iraq’s military following the U.S. invasion in 2003, as Iraq would still have possessed a functional army.

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US Again Bombs Nations On Other Side Of The World In “Self-Defense”

The US is again illegally bombing nations on the other side of the planet which it has invaded and occupied and branded this murderous aggression as “defensive”.

“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region,” reads a statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby. “The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries.”

Even more absurd than the fact that we’re all still pretending this clearly dementia-addled president is “directing” anything is the claim that these actions were “defensive” in nature. It is not possible for occupying invaders to be acting defensively in the nations they are occupying an invading; US troops are only in Iraq by way of an illegal 2003 invasion, a bogus 2014 re-entry, and a refusal to leave at the Iraqi government’s request last year, and they are in Syria illegally and without the permission of the Syrian government. They can therefore only ever be aggressors; they cannot be acting defensively.

It’s like if you broke into your neighbor’s house to rob him, killed him when he tried to stop you, and then claimed self-defense because you consider his home your property. Only in the American exceptionalist alternate universe is this considered normal and acceptable.

The only actual defensive action that the US could legitimately take to protect troops in Iraq and Syria would be to remove US troops from Iraq and Syria.

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Biden’s Lawless Bombing of Iraq and Syria Only Serves the Weapons Industry Funding Both Parties

For the second time in the five months since he was inaugurated, President Joe Biden on Sunday ordered a U.S. bombing raid on Syria, and for the first time, he also bombed Iraq. The rationale offered was the same as Biden’s first air attack in February: the U.S., in the words of Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.”

Embedded in this formulaic Pentagon statement is so much propaganda and so many euphemisms that, by itself, it reveals the fraudulent nature of what was done. To begin with, how can U.S. airstrikes carried out in Iraq and Syria be “defensive” in nature? How can they be an act of “self-defense”? Nobody suggests that the targets of the bombing campaign have the intent or the capability to strike the U.S. “homeland” itself. Neither Syria nor Iraq is a U.S. colony or American property, nor does the U.S. have any legal right to be fighting wars in either country, rendering the claim that its airstrikes were “defensive” and an “act of self-defense” to be inherently deceitful.

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