A rather disturbing report was released by the United Nations this week detailing how in the first part of 2019, US forces and their allies killed more civilians than the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
According to the most recent UN data, Afghan civilians were killed in greater numbers by NATO and pro-government security forces in the first three months of 2019 than by armed militants. Half of those slaughtered by allied troops were women and children.
While the number of overall civilians killed slightly decreased, according to the report, this is the first time since the invasion after 9/11 that the US and its allies have slaughtered more civilians than the terrorist groups they are ostensibly fighting.
The United Nations data breaks down as follows:
- In the first quarter of 2019, pro-government forces were responsible for the deaths of 305 civilians, while insurgents killed 227.
- The leading causes of civilian deaths were air strikes (145 fatalities) and ground search operations primarily carried out by US-backed Afghan forces (72).
- Women and children comprised half of civilian casualties from aerial operations, with international forces responsible for the vast majority of these.
- Overall, 581 civilians were killed and 1,192 wounded, representing a 23 percent decrease in overall casualties on the same quarter last year.
The numbers are apparently so disturbing that UN officials are now calling for an investigation into the killings.
“UNAMA urges both the Afghan national security forces and international military forces to conduct investigations into allegations of civilian casualties, to publish the results of their findings, and to provide compensation to victims as appropriate,” the report stated.
While there have been several governments contributing to the bombings inside the country, the report notes that the United States is responsible for the majority of the strikes. Your tax dollars are now being used to kill more civilians than the terrorists and most Americans haven’t the faintest clue.
What’s more is the fact that the US hasn’t accomplished anything in the region and the country is far worse off than before the invasion.
In spite of countless drone bombs raining down from the skies, hellfire and tomahawk missiles flattening buildings, and mass graves filled with collateral damage, the US has absolutely nothing to show for it.
Aside from the countless ruined lives, the cost of the war has reached astronomical proportions leaving mountains of debt for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
The Congressional Research Service, for example, concluded in 2015 that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost U.S. taxpayers $1.6 trillion. However, according to a report from TIME magazine last year, that number is a gross underestimate.
As TFTP previously reported, according to an analysis from the “Costs of War Project” from Brown University’s Watson Institute, by the end of 2018, the U.S. War on Terror cost America taxpayers more than $5.6 trillion, which is an average of $23,386 per taxpayer.
“As of late September 2017, the United States wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and the additional spending on Homeland Security, and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs since the 9/11 attacks totaled more than $4.3 trillion in current dollars through FY2017. Adding likely costs for FY2018 and estimated future spending on veterans, the costs of war total more than $5.6 trillion.”
As The Nation noted, that estimate does not include several factors such as “the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don’t include the costs to this country’s infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably—in these years, almost uniquely—bipartisan fashion into what’s still laughably called ‘national security.’”
After 18 years, there is no sign that the War on Terror is ending anytime soon, but surely the United States is finally close to defeating Al Qaeda—right?
Unfortunately, the opposite is true. A report from the Los Angeles Times noted that in 2018, “Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever,” and instead of destroying the group, “U.S. policies in the Mideast appear to have encouraged its spread.”
“The group has amassed the largest fighting force in its existence. Estimates say it may have more than 20,000 militants in Syria and Yemen alone. It boasts affiliates across North Africa, the Levant and parts of Asia, and it remains strong around the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.”
While Al Qaeda may have started out as a small terrorist group, it has now grown into a massive network that is flourishing in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, and Libya—all countries where the U.S. has actively carried out bombing campaigns in recent years. Coincidence?
In reality, the US War on Terror has had the opposite effect. The truth is that since 9/11, the US and their NATO allies have fostered a breeding ground for extremist and fundamentalist groups. As Americans sat back on their couches and watched the “Shock and Awe” on CNN, the US was sowing the seeds for perpetual war.
And as this current UN data shows, the ones carrying the torch in this perpetual war are now the ones doing the most killing — a tragically disturbing irony indeed. The only solution to this murderous insanity is to bring all the troops home now. Sadly, as the war drums beat for Iran and Venezuela, we can clearly see that the US Empire is doing the opposite.