Friday, April 01, 2016
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
We are pleased to add links to three additional organisations working on different aspects of casualty reporting. These are Airwars, Remote Control, and Every Casualty. The problem with the news feed 'going native' and churning out irrelevant, tech industry related news has also, hopefully, been fixed.
Friday, April 08, 2011
As stalemate, uncertainty, and mounting casualties continue in the war in Libya a brief but useful overview of the difficulties in estimating the death toll can be found in 'When Numbers Lie'.
In a previous post we commented on the the bleak prospects for Western forces providing better reporting on casualties caused by their combat activities in Libya. However, with that in mind it is also worth pointing to two archived articles from the British Army Review. The first, from 2009, looks at the use of Civilian Battle Damage Assessment Ratios to monitor military activities with the aim of reducing civilian casualties [BAR, 147]. The second, from 2010, calls for recording "all the dead: not just our own"; recognising the strategic advantages of such an approach [BAR 149].
The UK and other militaries are clearly thinking about the advantages of more open disclosure and better data recording. In conjunction with NGOs and academics important steps are being taken in that direction [Oxford Research Group]. Will this result in actual improvements in casualty reporting and, more importantly, real time adjustment of tactics to minimise casualties? The war in Libya is perhaps the testing ground for this new awareness. As it continues and evolves events may reveal to what extent the thinking revealed by the articles in the British Army Review has actually been main streamed.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
As the war against the Libyan Government enters its fifth day the concern about civilian casualties continues to grow. Perhaps even more than in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue has substantive political importance as efforts to maintain a broad based backing for the US/UK/French action continue [New York Times, CIF]. While the great majority of casualties that have been inflicted in the war so far have been caused by Libyan Government and rebels forces, the impact of western forces may well grow as the war continues.
Following the invasion of Afghanistan, it took over nine years for the US military to admit that they do collect and hold data on civilian casualties. The British military has yet to be as forthcoming. Will the western coalition perform any better in this new conflict or will we be left again we no hard information with which the human costs and benefits of the western intervention can be assessed?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
From BBC Online
Pakistan's military has condemned an air strike by Afghanistan-based US forces that killed 11 of its troops as a "cowardly attack". The incident happened inside Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan, as US-led forces tackled pro-Taleban militants.
The US military confirmed it had used artillery and air strikes after coming under fire from "anti-Afghan" forces. It comes amid rising tensions between the US and Pakistan militaries.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
A bit off the mainstream for this site but, having followed her story for a couple of years, I couldn't help but post this excerpt from Baghdad Burning.
"I cried as we left- in spite of promises not to. The aunt cried… the uncle cried. My parents tried to be stoic but there were tears in their voices as they said their goodbyes. The worst part is saying goodbye and wondering if you’re ever going to see these people again. My uncle tightened the shawl I’d thrown over my hair and advised me firmly to ‘keep it on until you get to the border’. The aunt rushed out behind us as the car pulled out of the garage and dumped a bowl of water on the ground, which is a tradition- its to wish the travelers a safe return… eventually.
The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves...
...The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming. Overwhelming relief and overwhelming sadness… How is it that only a stretch of several kilometers and maybe twenty minutes, so firmly segregates life from death?"
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Private security companies (i.e. mercenaries), have played a major role in the Iraq war. An article in the Washington Post yesterday describes their widening involvement and the resulting increase in under-reported or un-reported casualties.
From the Washington Post
From the Washington Post
BAGHDAD -- Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting insurgents on a widening scale in Iraq, enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives.A partial list of contractor casualties is maintained here by Coalition casualty Count.