US Air Raids Quietly Continue to Kill in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

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Obama may want to pre-emptively strike Pakistan, but we’re already well on our way.

From June to September Afghan and Pakistani civilians were killed during U.S.-led air strikes in record numbers. Afghan civilian casualties reached its climax in August, when 168 civilians died. Two-thirds of the deaths were attributed to “military operations conducted by international forces.” And today it was reported that over 2,500 families have been displaced in southern Afghanistan due to the Taliban; of that, hundreds were forced to flee due to “intense aerial bombing by international forces.”

Some have pointed out that there is a gruesome air war quietly going on in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Foreign Policy in Focus points out that some of these air strikes are conducted by unmanned aerial vehicles called MQ-1 Predators (which we fly over our south-west border, I might add). The missiles are guided from a base in Nevada. There has been a “five fold increase in the number of bombs dropped on Iraq during the first six months of 2007 over the same period in 2006,” and more than 30 tons of that have been cluster bombs. More civilians, the writer suggests, are being killed by coalition forces than the Taliban.

Furthermore, 59,787 pounds of cluster bombs have rained upon Iraq since April 2003; the Air Force dropped 111,000 pounds of bombs over Iraq in 2006 over a span of 10, 519 “close air support missions.” This figure does not include all the other types of weapons and munitions dropped over Iraq, as well as some Army, Marine and private security contractors’ operations. Overall, an average of 75 to 100 airstrikes are carried out in the 2 countries everyday by the U.S.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission remarks how Coalition bombardments against civilians come “at a time when the government and people of Afghanistan expect…international forces to cooperate and assist them in ensuring security, rule of law and reconstruction of Afghanistan. But, regretfully, the people of Afghanistan have always been witnessing civilian casualties in their operations against terrorists, particularly during last year [2006].”

— Neha Inamdar

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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