Iraq air raids hit mostly women and children
Report urges review of military strategy when targeting urban areas
Air strikes and artillery barrages have taken a heavy toll among the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, with children and women forming a disproportionate number of the dead.
Analysis carried out for the research group Iraq Body Count (IBC) found that 39 per cent of those killed in air raids by the US-led coalition were children and 46 per cent were women. Fatalities caused by mortars, used by American and Iraqi government forces as well as insurgents, were 42 per cent children and 44 per cent women.
Twelve per cent of those killed by suicide bombings, mainly the tool of militant Sunni groups, were children and 16 per cent were females. One in five (21 per cent) of those killed by car bombs, used by both Shia and Sunni fighters, was a child; one in four (28 per cent) was a woman.
The figures, compiled by academics at King’s College and Royal Holloway, University of London, show that hi-tech weaponry has caused lethal damage to those in the population who would be furthest away from the conflict.
The victims of one of the most brutal and common types of killings in the war – abduction and execution by death squad – were 95 per cent men, many of them bearing marks of torture.
The report, The Weapons That Kill Civilians, Deaths of Children and Noncombatants in Iraq, was compiled from a sample of 60,481 deaths in 14,196 events over a five-year period since the 2003 invasion. Civilian casualties from concentrated bouts of violence, such as the two sieges of Fallujah, were excluded.
IBC estimates that the total deaths in the conflict so far number 99,774. The medical journal The Lancet has maintained in another study that more than 600,000 people were killed in the first three years of the war. IBC holds that the indiscriminate nature of the fatalities caused by air strikes shows they should not be used in urban areas.
Growing anger over civilian casualties caused by air raids in another front of the “war on terror”, Afghanistan, has led to the US, UK and their Nato partners reviewing their policy of using warplanes. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, recently said this had become the most contentious issue between him and Western powers.
From 2004 to 2007, the overall tonnage of munition dropped from planes in the Afghan conflict rose from 163 tonnes a year to 1,956 tonnes, an increase of 1,100 per cent. Since 2001 the US air force has dropped 14,049 tonnes of bombs in Afghanistan and 18,858 in Iraq.
Professor John Sloboda, of Royal Holloway, co-author of the report, said: “Our weapon-specific findings have implications for a wide range of conflicts, because the patterns found in this study are likely to be replicated for these weapons whenever they are used.
Torture and murder the men, bomb the women and children.
I have long maintained that it is likely a violation of the Geneva Conventions for the US air force to systematically bomb cities that the US military is already occupying. Typically such close air support in urban areas is called in by infantry or armor patrols to deal with snipers atop tenement buildings. But since families live in the tenement buildings, taking out a sniper or two often results in significant civilian deaths. It is likely that the death toll of women and children is much greater than the Iraq Body Count suggests, since pulberized buildings are not always cleared away in a slum, and when they are, bodies are not always exhumed.
If they weren't living under snipers they wouldn't be bombed
If only there was some precedent for the consequences of this kind of indiscrimin
The still-incomplete database (it has several "dark" periods) reveals that from October 4, 1965, to August 15, 1973, the United States dropped far more ordnance on Cambodia than was previously believed: 2,756,941 tons' worth, dropped in 230,516 sorties on 113,716 sites. Just over 10 percent of this bombing was indiscriminate, with 3,580 of the sites listed as having "unknown" targets and another 8,238 sites having no target listed at all. Even if the latter may arguably be oversights, the former suggest explicit knowledge of indiscretion. The database also shows that the bombing began four years earlier than is widely believed -- not under Nixon, but under Lyndon Johnson. The impact of this bombing, the subject of much debate for the past three decades, is now clearer than ever. Civilian casualties in Cambodia drove an enraged populace into the arms of an insurgency that had enjoyed relatively little support until the bombing began, setting in motion the expansion of the Vietnam War deeper into Cambodia, a coup d'état in 1970, the rapid rise of the Khmer Rouge, and ultimately the Cambodian genocide. The data demonstrates that the way a country chooses to exit a conflict can have disastrous consequences. It therefore speaks to contemporary warfare as well, including US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite many differences, a critical similarity links the war in Iraq with the Cambodian conflict: an increasing reliance on air power to battle a heterogeneous, volatile insurgency.
you just have to laugh
also if you're curious to learn more about the United States' obsession with "precision bombing" and how completely ineffective it was in the attack of Baghdad Why We Fight is on google video for free. Tons of military personnel are in it as well as Chalmers Johnson who really knows his poo. It's a good watch and delves into the Military Industrial Complex at length.
Edited by Fiz, 16 April 2009 - 09:39 AM.