‘USAF ‘risk calculus’ in Mosul leading to unacceptable civilian casualties’

‘USAF ‘risk calculus’ in Mosul leading to unacceptable civilian casualties’
The calculated risk acceptable to the US Air Force is the people: kids, elderly people dying as a result of the airstrikes in Mosul, says political commentator Marwa Osman. This is nothing compared to an isolated incident in the West, this is beyond horrific, she adds.

A house in the Iraqi city of Mosul where more than 100 civilians were taking refuge, has been destroyed in an airstrike.

Despite mounting reports of civilian casualties, the operation in Mosul has been widely discussed and praised during a global anti-ISIS coalition summit in Washington. In the foreign ministers' joint statement, the Iraqi forces were hailed for doing their best to protect civilians.

Meanwhile, the UN says about 400,000 civilians are still trapped in the western, ISIS-held part of Mosul. Many people there do not have access to the basic necessities, yet are afraid to flee because of terrorist snipers and landmines.

RT: At the beginning of this month we had a coalition airstrike essentially knocking down a mosque in Mosul. Now there is another alleged coalition airstrike with over a hundred civilians killed. Any expectations of accountability?

Marwa Osman: No, I don’t think there will be any expectation for any sort of accountability coming from the US-led coalition, who always say “we have to wait for the investigation” and then the investigation disappears. There will be no reports stating what happened or how many civilian casualties or deaths were taken by such bombs. If you look at the local media in Iraq is saying that as many as 230 civilians - and not 150. So, the numbers are just increasing, They are still trying to remove people from under the rubble from this airstrike.

Now, the thing is that besides the actual number of people that are dying, which is increasing by the hour especially for today’s hit. We hear what the Air Force Brigadier General Matthew Isler gave a statement about this incident saying, “The risk calculus has not changed.” Let me tell you what the risk calculation is – it is the number of civilian casualties acceptable to “war planners” when considering a mission. So, the number of people, the families, the kids, the elderly that are dying as a result of such airstrikes in Mosul are acceptable numbers by the US Air Force as long as it is according to their mission “risk calculus.” This is beyond horrific…

RT: ISIS is reportedly using this tactic when they go on the roof top of civilian buildings, they lure in the bombers, and then bombs destroy this civilian housing. It seems like a fairly new tactic with ISIS. Is there anything that coalition forces can actually do to combat this type of tactic?

MO: Yes, of course, they can do. Before the coalition started bombing with airstrikes in Mosul, the popular mobilization unit, the PMU with the Iraqi forces were liberating large swathes of land in Iraq which let them be on the doorstep of Mosul itself. And then when Mosul was the area to be liberated, the US came in and said: “wait, it is our job to liberate it now because of certain geopolitical and diplomatic issues and resources issues.” The thing is if we look at how the PMU and the Iraqi Army have been gaining back land, especially in Fallujah, not with the air strikes, with minor airstrikes, but with actual street fighting, with guerrilla fighting. Because of the tactics of very risky, dangerous and inhuman tactics that ISIS is using against the civilians, as you just mentioned.

RT: Previously the mainstream media has been silent on reports of civilians being killed by coalition strikes. Why is that? Do you think this case will also be under-reported?

MO: Because the number of the civilian casualties is increasing and… it is unacceptable. Yet the US claims that it is acceptable because they are doing it. Let us just ask them how do they actually analyze and evaluate the spot they are bombing is an actual terrorist spot and not a civilian spot. Basically, because whenever the US goes up in the air and chooses a certain spot because of a mission they say that everybody in this radius is a terrorist, which is not the case here in Mosul.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.