We've changed kings since then, some of us twice. No one cares.....
November 16, 2017 6:16 PM   Subscribe

…....no one remembers. The uncounted. US Military officials say that the air war against ISIS is the most precise in history.

......"Such intelligence failures suggest that not all civilian casualties are unavoidable tragedies; some deaths could be prevented if the coalition recognizes its past failures and changes its operating assumptions accordingly. But in the course of our investigation, we found that it seldom did either"......
posted by lalochezia (17 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
History will not be kind to the US of this era. We are the evil empire.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:35 PM on November 16, 2017 [20 favorites]

Not that there's any other kind.
posted by flabdablet at 8:53 PM on November 16, 2017 [8 favorites]

This is horrific. And it's amazing journalism. The very least these people deserve is to be counted, and these reporters did a lot to tell their stories.
posted by zachlipton at 10:52 PM on November 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

posted by Feyala at 11:14 PM on November 16, 2017

The International laws governing warfare are based on three principles: necessity, distinction, and proportionality. The article goes some way to arguing that the US is unable to successfully distinguish between civilians and combatants, but the whole business is such a mess that I can't see how the attacks can be described as necessary or proportional . Both those things are based on the existence of a proper military objective, and I really don't think one exists.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:58 PM on November 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

Skimming the list of convicted war criminals (to about G), I didn't see any examples of any victors of warfare that have been convicted for war crimes.

And of course the United States has a law, a LAW, to authorize the invasion of the fucking Netherlands should anyone dare hold the US accountable for its many war crimes.
posted by el io at 12:05 AM on November 17, 2017 [8 favorites]

To be fair, we are doing better on the unintended casualty front than we have in past wars. So that's good. Better is better, and it's wrong not to acknowledge progress. So that's great news. Now let's do even better, since it's obviously possible. We have a moral imperative.

I'd rather we just stop shooting and bombing people, but if we're going to do it the least we can do is shoot and bomb only the people we intend to shoot or bomb.
posted by wierdo at 1:00 AM on November 17, 2017

I really don't know how some of these journalist manage to handle what they have to go through and be exposed to do such fine work.
posted by Samizdata at 4:09 AM on November 17, 2017

This story is featured in the NYT's "The Daily." You can hear interviews with Basim himself and the journalists.
posted by not that mimi at 4:59 AM on November 17, 2017

History will not be kind to the US of this era. We are the evil empire.

Meh, history will mostly forget us and we'll be but a disposable footnote of a disposable society. Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:36 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd rather we just stop shooting and bombing people, but if we're going to do it the least we can do is shoot and bomb only the people we intend to shoot or bomb.

The only way to do the latter is to do the former, no matter what advances in technology or procedure are made.
posted by edeezy at 7:46 AM on November 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

Rarely a week goes by without the US murdering someone. It's fucking inexcusable and destabilizing as all hell. For god's sake yankee go home.
posted by dmh at 8:38 AM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have no doubt you are correct, but I also have zero hope we will become a nation of pacifists. At some point something will happen that a large enough number of people, rightly or wrongly, blame a foreign nation for and feel like the answer is armed conflict with that government.

It's impossible to ensure we don't execute innocent people if we have the death penalty, yet in those states that still have it I'm quite happy when they make the procedure less torturous or revise appellate procedure to make it easier to stop an execution or anything else that makes it "better," all while adding my voice to the chorus of those who demand an end to the death penalty.

I feel pretty much the same way about war. There may be times when it is notionally necessary, perhaps even rare occasion where it's better than the alternative, but the risk of spilling innocent blood is too high to make it worth the benefits, if they even exist.
posted by wierdo at 8:38 AM on November 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

No one ever wins a war, if they're lucky one side just gets to lose a little less.
posted by VTX at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2017

The most expensive and losing military in history. https://www.amazon.com/Pussycats-Rest-Keeps-Beating-West/dp/1533232008
posted by SteveLaudig at 9:09 AM on November 17, 2017

I mean maybe, just maybe, this all has something to do with the definition of "enemy combatant" being so purposefully fucking vague kind of like how "terrorist" is also purposefully fucking vague so that shit can slowly be applied to a wider and wider net.

Because now, fucking Black Lives Matter is under investigation from a "Terrorism Analysis" unit in the FBI.

The report, dated August 2017 and compiled by the Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit, said: “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Incidents of “alleged police abuse” have “continued to feed the resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity within the BIE movement”.

Anyway, it was painfully obvious at the time that coining the term "enemy combatant" was nothing but an attempt to squirm around the Geneva Conventions and make it so they could do things to "enemy combatants" that they couldn't legally do to "unlawful combatants." Even when the Obama administration dropped using the term, they didn't drop the practices behind it.

It's always been about boiling the frog slowly, so we don't realize how well and truly fucked we really are until it's too late to fucking do anything about it.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:45 AM on November 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

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