Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

War can never be ‘humane’

By Joel Mathis The Week

There is no such thing as a “humane” war, much as we might want there to be. The New York Times on Sunday published an exposé of a U.S. military unit called “Talon Anvil,” which was reportedly quite effective at fighting ISIS in Syria — but achieved that distinction by playing fast and loose with rules designed to minimize civilian deaths.

In its efforts to destroy the terrorist group, Talon Anvil “circumvented rules imposed to protect noncombatants, and alarmed its partners in the military and the C.I.A. by killing people who had no role in the conflict: farmers trying to harvest, children in the street, families fleeing fighting, and villagers sheltering in buildings,” the paper reported.

The unit “made a lot of bad strikes,” one former Air Force officer said. Which is a nice way of saying that U.S. forces routinely slaughtered innocents.

Since the emergence of “smart bomb” weaponry during the first Gulf War three decades ago — and especially since drone strikes became a tool against suspected terrorists and even U.S. citizens under President Obama —  the American government and its allies have tried to convince the public that they can and do inflict fearsome destruction on their enemies, but with a rigor that allows them to largely avoid causing injury and death to bystanders.


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