An investigation conducted by Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal of the New York Times this past week uncovered shocking information about the rate of civilian deaths caused by US-led bombings in Iraq. After close examination of up to 150 airstrike sites, the information obtained seems to suggest civilian casualties occur at a rate about 31 times higher than previous coalition reports would lead us to believe.
Statistics provided by the coalition identify only 89 of almost 14,000 airstrikes resulting in civilian casualties. However, of the nearly 150 coalition led strikes the New York Times reported on, they found 1 in 5 strikes resulted in a civilian casualty, which appears to contradict the coalition’s data.
A possible reason for this great divide in reporting could come from how casualties are labeled in strike sites. The New York Times report finds that many strikes are carried out on misleading or outdated information, meaning civilians who are killed may be tagged as ISIS militants. In one instance, a civilian family compound was targeted directly by an airstrike. The strike killed multiple family members, and even afterwards the family was considered to be aligned with ISIS in coalition reports.
The reporters show a consistent failure of the coalition to properly examine claims, or keep proper documentation on such information.
“this may be the least transparent war in recent American history.”
See the full New York Times Investigation: