The Pentagon has refused to comment on a disturbing story from Iraq, where U.S. troops mistakenly fired on civilian houses and cars. No one was killed or injured, but 11 homes and one car were damaged, so the incident easily could have produced mass civilian casualties. The mistake happened during a training exercise near the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, where the U.S. maintains a military presence to counter the remnants of ISIS.
Troops accidentally hit residential neighborhood
The troops involved in the exercise did not, of course, intend to put civilians in harm’s way, but that isn’t particularly comforting to the locals whose neighborhood was left riddled with bullet holes.
All of those bullets miraculously missed the people living in the damaged houses, but it was only pure luck that kept the mistake from becoming lethal.
Local Iraqi authorities said that the exercise was a specialist practice session for shooting down drones. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, meanwhile, ignored a question about the incident.
That implies that the Biden administration intends to avoid having to address the accident. This, obviously, will not inspire any confidence that it won’t happen again.
U.S. troops are still stationed in northern Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the joint campaign to defeat ISIS and prevent them from reestablishing a foothold in the region.
Maintaining good relations with Iraq and ensuring the cooperation of locals is critical for that mission, but the Biden administration has not had an impressive record in preserving those relationships.
Biden administration dodges scrutiny
An airstrike last year angered even pro-American Iraqi leaders as the White House had failed to notify the country that it would be conducting strikes on its soil.
That strike, along with the refusal to address this botched training exercise, is in line with a general pattern of behavior from Biden’s White House and Pentagon that is alienating allies.
Iraq, France, Poland, and others have complained about a lack of decent communication from the White House, leading to a perception that the United States is not particularly concerned about what its allies think under this president.
Domestically the Biden administration is just as unenthusiastic about maintaining faith in American foreign policy and military operations.
An alternative to the lucky outcome of the exercise can be seen in the drone strike that killed an innocent Afghan family last year; the Pentagon and the White House refused to admit that there had been a mistake until it became impossible to deny.
No one was ever held accountable for that fatal mistake. If this latest mistake is not treated more seriously, the next error could result in more unnecessary deaths.
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Author: Staff Editor
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