Tags: Iraq | Syria | ted lieu | jim mattis | letter | civilian deaths | iraq

Congressman and Former JAG Demands Info on Civilian Casualties

Image: Congressman and Former JAG Demands Info on Civilian Casualties
Rep. Ted Lieu (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Thursday, 30 Mar 2017 02:59 PM

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a former Air Force lawyer, wrote an open letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis demanding details on military operations in Iraq and Syria that have reportedly resulted in large civilian casualties.

"The substantial increases in civilian deaths caused by U.S. military force in Syria and Iraq brings into question whether the Trump administration is violating the Law of War," he said, according to The Washington Post. "The large number of civilian casualties also suggests a possible breakdown in target selection, intelligence gathering, and operational execution."

The British group Airwars, which tracks civilian casualties from coalition air strikes, estimates roughly 1,000 deaths in March alone. Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters Tuesday that there's "a fair chance" a coalition airstrike contributed to the deaths of up to 200 civilians in western Mosul, according to ABC News.

"I am deeply concerned that the death of innocent children and women from U.S. airstrikes sets us back strategically, makes it more difficult to secure peace, and increases terrorist recruitment," Lieu continued.

The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, admitted to the House Armed Services Committee that the authorization for airstrikes is now possible at a lower level than previously, but said he was confident that the necessary precautions were in place.

"I think is also important to clearly recognize that the enemy does use human shields, has little regard for human life and does attempt to use civilian casualty allegations as a tool to hinder our operations," Votel said. "And so they bear responsibility for this as well."

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Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a former Air Force lawyer, wrote an open letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis demanding details on military operations in Iraq and Syria that have reportedly resulted in large civilian...
ted lieu, jim mattis, letter, civilian deaths, iraq, syria
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2017-59-30
Thursday, 30 Mar 2017 02:59 PM
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