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the US Air Force summoned to make efforts – RT in French
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the US Air Force summoned to make efforts – RT in French
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Faced with a report of thousands of civilian casualties in US Air Force strikes, the Secretary of Defense ordered an action plan from the Pentagon to make the protection of civilians a “strategic and moral imperative”.

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has urged the military to do more to avoid civilian casualties in airstrikes after several deadly blunders that tarnished the reputation of the US military.

We’re going […] recognize the harm inflicted on civilians […] and incorporate lessons learned in the preparation and execution of future operations

In a memo to the military chain of command issued Jan. 27, Lloyd Austin said protecting civilians was a “strategic and moral imperative.” “We will re-examine how we assess incidents that may have caused harm to civilians, recognize harm inflicted on civilians […] and incorporate lessons learned in the preparation and execution of future operations,” he added.

The Secretary of Defense – the US equivalent of the Minister of Defense – gave the Pentagon three months to submit an action plan to minimize civilian casualties, then another three months to develop new instructions for drone operators and their chain of command. As a reminder, the phenomenon was already brought to light in 2015 with the publication by The Intercept of the “Drone papers”, the content of which focused in particular on the approval process for a drone strike by the American army.

Lloyd Austin further announced the creation of a “centre of excellence” to develop better tools capable of reducing the risks for civilians, and to bring together in a single database all the incidents known by the various commands of the US military around the world, in order to learn from it.

A report criticizing in particular the policy of compensation for victims

These measures were recommended by a report by the Rand think tank commissioned by the Pentagon at the request of Congress.

Submitted in February 2021 to the Pentagon but made public on January 27, this report concludes that the various commands of the American army do not sufficiently share the lessons learned from their mistakes and that the American Department of Defense does not compensate the families of the victims. consistently.

The Pentagon must explain more clearly the purpose of these payments

Michael McNerney, one of the authors of the report, noted that the American army thus granted much more often in Afghanistan than in Iraq compensation ex gratia – that is to say that it grants financial compensation to the families of the victims without recognizing its legal responsibility. “The Pentagon needs to explain more clearly the purpose of these payments,” he told reporters, before asking, “Are they there to help US forces or unit commanders, like some of the used in Afghanistan, or should they be used to acknowledge wrongdoing and hold people accountable?”

Thousands of civilian victims, according to several surveys

These reforms come after the publication of several surveys by the New York Times showing that the drone strikes favored since 2014 by the American army in its war against jihadist groups in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have caused thousands of civilian victims, including many children.

The daily also accused an American special force operating in Syria – sometimes in the greatest secrecy – of having bombed a group of civilians near Baghouz, the last stronghold of Daesh in Syria, three times in March 2019, killing 70 people. including women and children.

The most recent US military blunder occurred on August 27 in Kabul, in the final days of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, when a drone strike mistakenly killed ten civilians, including seven children.

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