Syria

White House Shrugs Off Dead Civilians in Syrian Strikes

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"Freedom" is just another word for nothing left to bomb.

Winning hearts and minds! In the wake of reports that our airstrikes on Syria may have killed a dozen civilians, including children, Yahoo News asked the administration whether the policy the White House put in place to limit drone strikes applied to these bombings. The drone rules President Barack Obama has put into place require they can only be used if there is a "near certainty" that there will be no civilian casualties. (These rules are mere empty gestures, though. There have been civilian casualties from drone strikes anyway, regardless of policy).

But the citizens of Syria and Iraq won't even get this lip service. This is an area of "active hostilities," which is what I guess we're calling undeclared wars at the moment. The drone assassination policy does not apply here, Yahoo News has been informed:

The "near certainty" standard was intended to apply "only when we take direct action 'outside areas of active hostilities,' as we noted at the time," [National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin] Hayden said in an email. "That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now." 

Hayden added that U.S. military operations against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria, "like all U.S. military operations, are being conducted consistently with the laws of armed conflict, proportionality and distinction."

The laws of armed conflict prohibit the deliberate targeting of civilian areas and require armed forces to take precautions to prevent inadvertent civilian deaths as much as possible.

Read more here.