An airstrike today by U.S. forces on a volatile area west of Baghdad has killed either 13 insurgents or 45 civilians, depending on whose account is to be believed. U.S. armed forces claim the airstrike targeted insurgents holed up in safe houses and took place following an initial raid that uncovered a cache of weapons. Local officials are claiming that the victims were all civilians, including women, children, and the elderly.
Even if we concede that both accounts are correct, that still amounts to 3.46 civilians killed for every insurgent eliminated. This does not seem to me like an effective strategy. It seems to me that given such numbers, U.S. forces in Iraq are three times more likely to be viewed as murders than liberators.
The above Associated Press photo shows the body of a boy killed in today’s airstrike on the village of Zaidan, west of Baghdad.