The Pentagon has confirmed that it is “investigating” an airstrike it carried out in Mosul which has killed as many as 200 civilians. If the reports indicating the number of casualties turn out to be accurate, this will constitute one of the single worst instances of US attacks killing unarmed, non-combatant civilians over the past 15 years.
Since Trump’s inauguration, there has been an alarming spike in civilian casualties in the “war on terror.” While Obama’s policies were heavily criticized for the cause of civilian deaths, as many as 1,000 civilians may have been killed by US-led attacks since Trump took office, indicating that controls put in place to mitigate civilian casualties by the previous administration have perhaps been removed by Trump, whose flailing and incompetent presidency and string of embarrassing defeats may compel him to look elsewhere for validation.
A statement from the US-led coalition regarding the atrocity read:
Our goal has always been for zero civilian casualties, but the coalition will not abandon our commitment to our Iraqi partners because of ISIS’s inhuman tactics terrorizing civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighborhoods.
The bombing followed events in England, in which a lone, self-radicalized British national killed 4 individuals in an attack that lasted less than one-and-a-half minutes. A tragedy in its own right, this story captured the headlines on both sides of the Atlantic, while the Mosul bombing was buried.
If – as analysts speculate – Trump has indeed lessened restrictions on safeguarding the lives of civilians overseas, it will only increase the likelihood of more London-style attacks.