The Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, has made the unbelievable claim that no civilians have been killed by UK bombing in Iraq and Syria in the last few years. This is a shameless lie considering that Britain has dropped more than 3,400 bombs on those two countries by October last year. Even Air Marshall Greg Bagwell, a former deputy commander of the Royal Air Force who oversaw airstrikes in Iraq, Syria and Libya, has challenged the government’s preposterous claim. He says it is inconceivable that no civilians have been harmedin over 1,600 UK airstrikes.
According to a New York Times investigation published in November last year, the number of civilian casualties of coalition airstrikes in Iraq was by that time more than 31 times larger than the number acknowledged by the coalition. Their investigation also found that one in five of the coalition strikes they identified resulted in civilian death.
Airwars has estimated that the number of civilian deaths as a result of US-led military operations in Iraq and Syria was between 11,000 and 18,000 last year. This may actually be a serious underestimate: intelligence reports revealed exclusively to The Independent estimate that more than 40,000 civilians were killed in the battle for Mosul alone.
After 16 years of deceit about the nature of British military interventionism in the Middle East and elsewhere, the public have had enough of “warfare as usual”, and of the lies that accompany it. There is increasing hope about the possibility of a decisive shift in British foreign policy, but this historic change will require your support and involvement.