Alright, let’s break this down.
The military rules of engagement are directives set forth in order to dictate circumstances that require ground, air, and naval forces to enter combat zones and fight. They are rules to abide by when activating drone strikes, air strikes, as well as “boots on the ground” strikes. In the last decade, they have been under intense scrutiny in order to shrink civilian casualties within war zones.
But, in just the last few weeks, a series of Mosul airstrikes have been reported to have taken over 200 civilian casualties.
If so, this would rank in America’s history as one of the highest civilian death tolls in any given strike since the war first began with the very first air strike on March 20, 2003.
Now, people are wondering if President Donald Trump’s promise for more aggressive tactics against the Islamic State are beginning to careen out of control.
Here Is The Issue
When questioned about the airstrike, Col. John J. Thomas said that the military was attempting to figure out whether the airstrike was American, or whether the airstrike was somehow a booby trap set inside by the Islamic State.
There is a standing colonel, who is also the designated spokesperson for U.S. Central Command, and he has no idea who is responsible for the airstrike.
And now, just today, 43 more civilians have been killed in airstrikes as coalition and Iraqi forces keep their mouths shut on who is to blame. Iraqi forces are feeding general statements about dead bodies not being found near airstrike zones, and the U.S. military is feeding accurate statements to the tune of, “I don’t know.”
The Big Question Is This
Has Trump been relaxing the rules of engagement to fuel more airstrikes?
The truth is, you can’t “relax” the rules of engagement. You can interpret them differently, and you can utilize diplomacy instead of weapons to diffuse situations like Obama did with the nuclear standoff with Iran in 2012, but the rules can’t just “relax.”
However, there are “unwritten rules” to the rules of engagement, just as there are unwritten rules to general elections, that Obama put in place during his two-term presidency. He placed those unwritten rules there in order to avoid as many civilian casualties as possible, and called off more airstrikes than he administered because of the risk of high civilian casualties.
Want to know how many civilian casualties Obama saw during his presidency?
The count, as of the end of 2016, was 116.
Now that the Mosul airstrike has been confirmed as American, that brings the civilian death toll in Trump’s administration up to at least 243.
In two and a half months.
Not only that, but this is the second time in a week that Central Command has opened up an investigation into civilian casualties because of U.S.-led Coalition airstrikes.
With those numbers, whether the rules of engagement have changed or not no longer matters.
What Matters Is One Word… Civilians
Civilians are beginning to pay a hefty price for circumstances beyond their control.
This is serious, and this is happening. Take a look below for more information.
Featured image courtesy of YouTube video.