WCW Home News Recent News 12/20/21 Extraordinary "failure" of US military?
12/20/21 Extraordinary "failure" of US military? PDF Print E-mail
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By Debra Sweet

An extraordinary - as in the top half of the front page, and 5 full inside pages, with photos - investigation series of U.S. military-caused civilian deaths began in The New York Times this weekend.

Readers of this newsletter, which began in 2005, will know that its headline "Hidden Files Bare Military Failures in Deadly Strikes," fails to convey the fact that failure to protect non-combatants is built in to the unjust, illegitimate, immoral and imperialist wars the U.S. wages.

But it's important to read and digest this series in print, interactive digital and audio formats. If you can't access The New York Times, write us and we'll help get the material.

Today journalist Azmat Khan has the second in the series, "The Civilian Casualty Files." He writes in the intro:

The documents, along with The Times’s ground reporting, illustrate the many, often disastrous ways the military’s predictions of the peril to civilians turn out to be wrong. Their lessons rarely learned, these breakdowns of intelligence and surveillance occur again and again.
Repeatedly the documents point to the psychological phenomenon of 'confirmation bias' — the tendency to search for and interpret information in a way that confirms a pre-existing belief. People streaming toward a fresh bombing site were assumed to be ISIS fighters, not civilian rescuers.
Men on motorcycles moving 'in formation,' displaying the 'signature' of an imminent attack, were just men on motorcycles.
Often, the danger to civilians is lost in the cultural gulf separating American soldiers and the local populace. 'No civilian presence' was detected when, in fact, families were sleeping through the days of the Ramadan fast, sheltering inside against the midsummer swelter or gathering in a single house for protection when the fighting intensified.
In many cases, civilians were visible in surveillance footage, but their presence was either not observed by analysts or was not noted in the communications before a strike. In chat logs accompanying some assessments, soldiers can sound as if they are playing video games, in one case expressing glee over getting to fire in an area ostensibly 'poppin' with ISIS fighters — without spotting the children in their midst.

All of this exposure confirms the necessity to step up reaching youth about the dangers of joining the U.S. military.

 
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