News Release

As Civilian Casualties Mount, Air War Is Questioned

The Associated Press is reporting today that NATO air strikes “left 25 civilians dead.” AP also reports that NATO “blamed [the insurgents] for the deaths of any innocents, saying they had launched ‘irresponsible’ attacks from civilian homes.”

This week, Reuters reported: “At least seven children were killed in a U.S.-led coalition air strike on a religious school in Afghanistan … amid rising anger over civilian deaths from foreign military operations. Up to 60 civilians have been killed in the past three days in the southern Uruzgan province alone, a senior provincial official said.” [Full articles here and here]

When asked about the civilian casualties in Iraq resulting from air power, a U.S. Central Command Air Force spokesman stated that “we do not track such numbers.” [More]

DAHR JAMAIL
After doing extensive reporting from war-torn Iraq, Jamail wrote in December 2005: “I have worked as an independent reporter in Baghdad for over eight months during the U.S. occupation of Iraq thus far and I can confirm that a day never passed in the capital city when the low rumblings of an Apache helicopter or the supersonic thundering roar of an F-16 fighter jet didn’t cause me to look up for the source of the noise. … The Air Force claims that ‘nearly 70 percent of all munitions used by the air component since the start of the operation have been precision-guided,’ and ‘every possible precaution is taken to protect innocent Iraqi civilians, friendly coalition forces, facilities and infrastructure.’ … [However] even Pentagon figures indicate that 10-15 percent of laser-guided munitions don’t land where intended.”

Jamail added: “If current trends continue, the end of the U.S. occupation in Iraq may more closely resemble the ending in Vietnam. … The political climate at home may force a decrease in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, [with a] compensatory upswing in air power meant to offset this.” Jamail’s book Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq will be published in October.
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NORMAN SOLOMON
Executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Solomon is the author War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death — adapted into a documentary film that was released nationwide yesterday. He said today: “In the United States, many advocates of U.S. withdrawal from Iraq have focused on what the war has been doing to Americans. This approach may seem like political pragmatism and tactical wisdom, but in the long run it’s likely to play into the hands of White House strategists who will try to regain domestic political ground by reducing American losses while boosting the use of high-tech weaponry against Iraqi people. … The available evidence is strong that the U.S. air war is escalating — with a surge of resulting casualties among Iraqi civilians.” (Solomon is currently in Washington, D.C.) A full transcript of the “War Made Easy” documentary is posted here.
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Background:

A study published last year in the British medical journal The Lancet estimated 655,000 “excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war.” The study found 13 percent of violent deaths in Iraq were caused by coalition air strikes — approximately 78,133 Iraqis killed by bombs, missiles, rockets, or cannon rounds from coalition aircraft from March 2003 to June 2006. Tomdispatch.com notes that according to the statistics provided by the authors of the Lancet study, 50 percent of all violent deaths of Iraqi children under 15 years of age, between March 2003 and June 2006, were due to coalition air strikes.

For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan at (541) 484-9167.