By: Terry Kay Rockefeller*
Civilian casualties are making headlines as we try to comprehend the true cost of liberating Mosul from Daesh. A New York Times investigative report, “The Uncounted,” revealed the stunningly inaccurate intelligence that guided what were supposed to be targeted, strategic bombings of Daesh strongholds. The article described in detail the killing of four members of an extended family whose homes were mistakenly identified as a car bomb factory.
Now statistical evidence is revealing just how frequent such tragic events were in Mosul. An Associated Press story, which appears below, recently reported that between 9,000 and 11,000 civilians died in the final months of fighting to reclaim Mosul, and that “as coalition and Iraqi government forces increased their pace, civilians were dying in ever higher numbers at the hands of their liberators.” Destruction by airstrikes was the principal cause.
The high incidence of civilian casualties in modern warfare and the cycles of revenge and violence they lead to was the reason that September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows opposed all war in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is far too late to reverse that decision, but it is not too late to question the futility of military strategies to end terrorism. You may kill a terrorist, but you will never wipe out terrorism with a bomb. We need to replace firepower with people power advocating dialogue and conflict resolution to build a durable peace.
*Terry Kay Rockefeller is a founding member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows which supports the ICSSI and members of Iraqi civil society in rebuilding a diverse Iraq that rejects the use of military force to address social conflict.
Mosul is a graveyard: Final IS battle kills 9,000 civilians
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — The price Mosul’s residents paid in blood to see their city freed was 9,000 to 11,000 dead, a civilian casualty rate nearly 10 times higher than what has been previously reported. The number killed in the nine-month battle to liberate the city from the Islamic State group marauders has not been acknowledged by the U.S.-led coalition, the Iraqi government or the self-styled caliphate.
But Mosul’s gravediggers, its morgue workers and the volunteers who retrieve bodies from the city’s rubble are keeping count.
Iraqi or coalition forces are responsible for at least 3,200 civilian deaths from airstrikes, artillery fire or mortar rounds between October 2016 and the fall of the Islamic State group in July 2017, according to an Associated Press investigation that cross-referenced independent databases from non-governmental organizations.
Read the full AP story here: https://www.apnews.com/bbea7094fb954838a2fdc11278d65460