Last week the Defense Department claimed that only 89 civilians had been accidentally killed in US air strikes against the Daesh terrorist group. However, the New York Times reported on Friday that the US air strikes against Daesh had killed 31 times as many civilians as the US military claimed.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US military’s underreporting of civilians killed by counterterrorism strikes will only fuel hatred for America worldwide, global peace activist Helen Caldicott told Sputnik.
“The US military does not count civilian deaths, those that they murdered, only US deaths,” she said. “It is Long Distance Murder and people wonder why young men are turned into so-called terrorists. What would you do if you saw your mother disintegrated before your eyes as death hurtles from the sky?”
Caldicott, founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the organization that was the co-winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize warned that those excessive civilian casualties was generating greater hatred and fanaticism against the United States and its allies, rather than deterring it.
The extremely low and apparently highly inaccurate figure presented by the Defense Department confirmed the failure of the US military to pay any attention to the widespread human suffering it continued to inflict, Caldicott commented.
Caldicott remarked that inflicting large numbers of innocent civilian casualties relative to the number of Daesh activists killed was the inevitable and unavoidable consequence of the widespread US use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones.
“When I first read about drones and their long-distance killing capacity, I was truly horrified, while the US military lauded them as a wonderful invention because it meant that no US personnel would be placed in harm’s way,” she said.
The widespread use of UAVs was also reprehensible because it dehumanized the young US military personnel who operated them, directing them into inflicting horrific carnage on a daily scale and then participating immediately in apparently normal family lives, Caldicott noted.
The relatives of the victims of the UAV strikes suffered far more directly and terribly from the consequences of those operations, but their pain was never addressed by policymakers or the US media, Caldicott observed.
The US-led coalition of some 70 nations is conducting airstrikes, ground-based and rocket-propelled artillery fire against Daesh targetsin Syria and Iraq. While the strikes in Iraq are conducted in coordination with Baghdad, those in Syria are not authorized by Damascus or by the UN Security Council.
Caldicott is the author of many books, including “The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military Industrial Complex” and “War in Heaven:” The Arms Race in Outer Space.” The Smithsonian Institution has named her one of the most influential women of the 20th century.