US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote a letter to senior officials requesting “increased efforts to prevent civilian deaths.” It is Austin’s most comprehensive move to date on the issue, which was drawn to attention in a 2019 US airstrike in Syria that killed dozens of civilians.
“We can and will do more to protect civilians,” Austin wrote in the letter. The Pentagon must come up with a plan to deal with the problem within three months from the Secretary of Defense. “Protecting innocent civilians in the conduct of our operations remains vital to the eventual success of operations,” Austin said, also emphasizing a “moral imperative.”
The Austin Briefing comes on the same day that research firm RAND Corporation released a critical report on the US military’s handling of these types of incidents. When planning attacks, defense will focus on the enemy in a way that “neglects the broader civilian picture.” Researchers say this could lead to civilian deaths.
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In addition, according to the report, the military is not conducting an “appropriate and consistent investigation” into the incidents. According to the researchers, the soldiers who were going to report the killing of civilians came up with the idea that they ended up with a cover-up. Therefore, it is not known exactly how many civilians have died in recent years as a result of the actions of the US military.
New York times He wrote at the end of last year that the US armed forces often base their bombings in countries like Iraq and Syria on insufficient intelligence. A US military spokesman said in response that “even the best technology in the world” could not prevent mistakes being made, for example by misinterpreting intelligence. He said he was very sorry. “We try to learn from those mistakes.”
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