Recent reports indicate that at least 100 civilians died in airstrikes during a US-led air campaign against ISIS’s final Iraqi stronghold, Mosul.
“Eyewitnesses from Mosul and Iraqi officials have said last week’s strike on Islamic State targets may have collapsed homes where rescue officials say as many as 200 people were buried in the rubble,” Reuters reported.
When asked about the loss of innocent life, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave a brilliant answer.
“There is no military force in the world that has proven more sensitive to civilian casualties,” Mattis told reporters. “We go out of our way to always do everything humanly possible to reduce the loss of life or injury among innocent people. The same cannot be said for our adversaries.”
And he’s exactly right.
Mattis’ response to Reuters reports stands up to initial scrutiny. The US almost exclusively uses precision guided munitions, which can greatly reduce civilian casualties when coupled with accurate intelligence.
Compare that with cluster munitions, barrel bombs, and tons of unguided gravity bombs dropped haphazardly from miles above ground by Russia and Syria.
Compare the US’s swift admission to airstrikes in ISIS-held Iraq that killed dozens of civilians with a Russian general claiming in March 2016 that “not a single bombing raid missed the target,” at a time when Russian warplanes supporting the Syrian regime had been linked to bombing hospitals.
Writing for Duke University’s Lawfire blog, retired US Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap Jr. said, “The grim truth is that given ISIS tactics, civilians will die in the effort to crush the terrorists.”
SHARE on Facebook and Twitter if you stand with Secretary Mattis!