Combative Approaches To Conflicts Are Killing Civilians

A massive airstrike launched by the U.S. in a Mosul neighborhood on Friday, March 17 has killed at least 200 civilians. Although it has been questioned whether the U.S. launched the airstrikes in Mosul, American spokespeople have not denied that the U.S. did indeed launch them. The Americans say they were targeting Islamic State fighters. Iraqi commanders said the deaths followed an Iraqi army request for US air support to clear ISIS snipers atop three buildings. They said they did not realize civilians were sheltering beneath; it may have been a trap set out by ISIS. Nonetheless, innocent lives have still been taken, regardless of the initial intention.

In addition to the Mosul attack, two recent Syrian attacks that killed many civilians brings a question to a new behavioral pattern displayed by US forces since President Trump took office. One of these attacks took place a little over a week ago when the US was accused of bombing a mosque in Aleppo province in Syria, which killed more than 40. Shortly after, this past Wednesday, at least 30 civilians died in an American airstrike which hit a school in Raqqa Province.

According to independent monitors, the monthly total of recorded civilian deaths from coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria has more than doubled. This may be due to the US-led coalition hoping for and seeing a final victory over ISIS arising. For this, Trump also recently approved a decision to deploy hundreds of US marines in northern Syria. With this decision, relatively inexperienced American soldiers will be placed in the midst of an extremely toxic, multi-fronted battlefield that has and will continue to result in fatalities among civilian lives. While President Trump has vowed to exterminate ISIS by any means, this does not serve as an excuse for the hundreds of civilian deaths that will follow.

Nearly 50 bodies could be seen on Friday in the area of the airstrike. Family members and friends helped recover the remains. A woman named Munatha Jasim was one of these people. Jasim lost 9 of her relatives due to the attack including her 7-year-old son and her 4-year-old daughter. “We recovered half his body,” she said of the 7-year-old, “the rest is still there.”

The tragedies of the attack in Mosul were overlooked by many news outlets due to the recent horrific event that took place in London. Nonetheless, the realities of both incidents present us with a world full of unwanted hate. News outlets covering the event are gearing towards what approach ought to be taken after the civilians have been killed. The focus after incidents like these should rather be on finding ways to prevent civilian deaths from occurring initially. Too many civilians are being harmed under combative approaches to conflict. A new approach must be taken.

Amanda Pedersen-Henry

Villanova University undergraduate class of 2019. Studying Communication (Journalism) and Political Science.