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 ultimate success of operations.”
Austin’s letter comes on the day the research firm RAND Corporation releases a critical report on the US military’s handling of such incidents. When planning attacks, the defense will focus on the enemy in a way that “ignores the broader civilian picture.” Researchers say this could lead to civilian deaths.
The letter is Austin’s most comprehensive move to date on the issue, which focused in particular on a 2019 US airstrike in Syria that killed dozens of civilians.
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.
Lack of information
The New York Times reported late last year that US military forces often base their bombings of countries like Iraq and Syria on flawed 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. “We’re trying to learn from those mistakes,” he said at the time.
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