On March 17, 2017, more than 200 Iraqi civilians died at the hands of U.S. officials.
An airstrike had been ordered to target Mosul by the United States Central Command. The attack was intended to inflict damage on ISIL equipment and personnel. Sitting alongside these ISIL members were Iraqi civilians taking cover in basements of the Mosul neighborhood. As the attack was carried out, the U.S.’s mission was accomplished but unfortunately, Iraqi civilian casualties came with it. The United States Central Command should not have ordered the coalition airstrike on Mosul because of the presence of innocent Iraqi civilians.Keywords: Coalition, traumatized, PTSD, ISIL The people affected first hand are often the most reliable and accurate sources to receive insight from.
In this case, an Iraqi Mosul resident who was lucky enough to survive the coalition airstrike could explain his experience of the tragedy that occurred on that day. Assad, a 32-year-old explains that he saw his “father…, brother, two sisters, and two cousins…die in front of him”(Chulov, 2017, p.
1). His mother was his only relative to survive, but she was badly hurt from the rubble that hit her from one of the explosions. One very distressed Iraqi woman explains conditions thoroughly saying “she tried to go outside. Everything was burning. Fire was everywhere. Her husband’s family were all killed. She was wiping her face and was covered in blood.
Everyone was covered in blood”(Hall, 2017, p.1). This goes to show how not only that the deaths were inhumane, but the survivors were traumatized to an extent beyond understanding. No matter if the damage was psychological or physical, complications such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bruises, broken bones, cuts, and death should not be tolerated. Any humane person can see that arguments supporting the Mosul Airstrike are invalid and barbarous at the same time. The irony that the United States has a goal to protect Iraqi civilians and destroy ISIL, the ones that are a threat to them, is absurd because it seems that the U.S.
is just as threatening. In addition, the insight of other nations serves an important role in the determination of whether the act of going through with the airstrike was justified. The United Nations explains that the Iraqi and coalition forces have failed “to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law”(Almukhtar, 2017, p.
1). They also explained that the American-led coalition should rethink their strategies after the deadly attack in Mosul. Also, the United Nations which is comprised of 193 total nations including the United States, expressed its concern, saying it was “stunned by this terrible loss of life” (Rasheed, 2017, p.1). Due to many nations opposing the inhumanity in calling these air strikes and the risks involved, it further supports the idea that the coalition air strike should not have been ordered.
Lastly, the government’s and government official’s lack of strategic play on how to minimize risk when calling the airstrike was a massive flaw. The United States has the technology and resources to seek out information on the civilian presence in Mosul and with the information provided the United States should have seen the risk involved and backed off. Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International explains “that coalition forces should have known that these strikes were likely to result in a significant number of civilian casualties” (Gordon, 2017, p.1).
The United States was also in constant communication with “Iraqi authorities who repeatedly advised civilians to remain at home, instead of fleeing the area” (Gordon, 2017, p.1). This was also another red flag that should have caught the attention of United States officials and hinted that the strike was a bad idea. Also, one expert, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, ” urged the American-led coalition to reconsider its tactics” (Gordon, 2017, p.1). For someone of high caliber to question the strategies put forth by the United States, signifies that flaws are present in the U.S.
‘s approach and with these imperfections, no airstrike should have been ordered. While it is true that the U.S. had the intention of targeting ISIL fighters and equipment, the risk that is taken when targeting a civilian occupied location invalidates any reasoning to go through with the attack. The loss of civilian life far outweighs the small gain from destroying a minuscule portion of ISIL personnel and equipment. Obviously, United States officials failed to see this and were blindsided by the goal to destroy ISIL as a whole.
Sadly Mosul civilians were forced to deal with the repercussions that came along with the Coalition Airstrike. Is that a price that you would be willing to pay for such an insignificant advantage? The United States’ choice to go through with the air strike is not justified and officials should not have gone through with it, as the lives of many were lost and others, put in jeopardy. When any action has a potential to put innocent lives in danger, the risk is too great to follow through with it. These actions threatening the lives of innocent civilians can in no way, be validated or defended. This puts the United States at fault for making decision to go through it because they knew the risks involved and went through with it anyway. Speak up for those who could not and bring attention to the injustices that were made against Mosul civilians.