In the days after the terrorist atrocities of September 11, 2001, US President George W. Bush announced the start of a new type of war, one without defined borders, boundaries, or timescales.
“Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there,” he told Americans. “It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen.”
Indeed, the War on Terror has been a near global endeavour. By 2017 the US Department of Defense said it had around 8,000 “special operators” in 80 countries across the world.
Airstrikes have been a key feature of this seemingly endless war. New research by Airwars found that the US has declared at least 91,340 strikes across seven major conflict zones. It found that at least 23,000 civilians – but potentially as many as 48,000 – have been killed by these strikes.
The worst affected country was Iraq, where more than 11,000 civilians were likely killed by US strikes, followed by Syria and Afghanistan. The deadliest year was 2003, when US-led forces invaded Iraq. The next deadliest year was 2017, when at least 4,931 civilians were likely killed, the vast majority in Coalition bombing of Iraq and Syria.
“In the Iraq and Syria campaign against ISIS, the US-led Coalition has accepted killing 1,417 civilians – far lower than Airwars’ own estimate of at least 8,300 civilian deaths for that war,” report the campaign, which has collated data on many of the US’s conflicts since it was formed in 2014.
The numbers killed in air strikes represents only a fraction of the estimated 300,000 civilians killed by all parties to these post-2001 conflicts.
More information here.
Some upcoming anti-war activity
Resist DSEI – stop arming Israel!
In September, the world’s largest arms fair, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), returns to London. A week of protests is planned, including
Sunday 12th September – Demonstration – Assemble: 1.00 pm Forest Lane Park, London E15 1RZ
Mark the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on September 26th
The Nuke Free Europe network is coordinating a month of action this September to highlight the presence of nuclear weapons stationed across the continent. In the UK, there will be action at nuclear sites across the country on September 26th. Details here.
Stop the War
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