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Killing civilians to vanquish Isis will only make besieged people hate us

By       Message Trevor Timm     Permalink
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Reprinted from The Guardian

From youtube.com/watch?v=_vOi3BHA6GI: 'Why you kill my family?' Civilian drone victims call US to account
'Why you kill my family?' Civilian drone victims call US to account
(Image by YouTube)
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Advocates for even more war in the Middle East apparently have a new strategy for defeating Isis: allow the US military to kill more civilians. If you think I'm exaggerating, just read their deranged and pathological arguments for yourself.
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It began in late May when the New York Times reported that both Iraqi and American officials started complaining the US was too worried about killing civilians, suggesting that the Obama administration shouldn't be worried that indiscriminately killing innocent people might turn the Iraqi population even more against the US than it already is. (Nevermind that it could be considered a war crime.) As the Times's Eric Schmitt wrote: "many Iraqi commanders and some American officers say that exercising such prudence with airstrikes is a major reason the Islamic State, also known as Isis or Daesh, has been able to seize vast territory in recent months in Iraq and Syria."

US News and World Report's Paul Shinkman took this to a new extreme this week in an article entitled "Iraqi Civilians Will Die: US Must Get Used to It, Experts Say." Shinkman quoted multiple "experts" who were apparently upset the US military was investigating one of its own bombings due to credible reports that civilians were killed. Given the US government took months to admit that they had killed even one civilian in Iraq or Syria, the fact they are willing to investigate it at all should tell you something about its validity. Admitting the US cares about civilian deaths only "complicate[s] the war effort," he writes. Shinkman ended his piece -- after claiming that the firebombing of Dresden and the millions of civilians killed in Vietnam were merely "part of the cost of waging warfare" -- by essentially lamenting that US military members are attempting to avoid collateral deaths:

"For now, it seems clear to some that no pilots are willing to venture beyond their strict orders to find and kill the enemy.

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Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to  The (more...)

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