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Inspector General: A “definite disconnect that could have helped” on the deadly drone strike in Kabul.

By tom On Saturday, November 06 th, 2021 · no Comments · In Afghansitan ,Writing

By Tom Squitieri
Red Snow News
WASHINGTON – The drone strike that killed 10 innocent people in Afghanistan, including seven children, would have benefited from a variety of challenges to the momentum leading to the launch, doubts that if raised could have prevented the fatal error, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.
There was a “definite disconnect that could have helped,” Air Force Inspector General Lt. Gen. Sami Said told Pentagon reporters. He led the independent probe ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin of the strike.
Said said that the strike happened because those charged with launching the it “believed at the time that they were targeting an imminent threat” — among many threats — and that a series of errors did not occur because of negligence, bias, or misconduct. The errors included breakdowns in communication and in the process of identifying and confirming the target of the bombing.
A fact sheet distributed to reporters said in part that “The investigation found no violation of law, including the Law of War. Execution errors combined with confirmation bias and communication breakdowns led to regrettable civilian casualties.”
The report does not recommend disciplinary action. Said said between five and 10 individuals made the final decision to launch the strike.
“I found that given the information they had and the analysis that they did — I understand they reached the wrong conclusion, but … was it reasonable to conclude what they concluded based on what they had? It was not unreasonable. It just turned out to be incorrect,” Said said. He is the inspector general of the Air Force and had no direct connection to the Afghan mission.
The conclusions were greeted by a raft of scorn and incredulity throughout the wider defense community and elsewhere.
“The fact that the strike occurred despite prudent measures just affirms that the Pentagon has a systemic problem on its hands,” Adam Weinstein, research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said. “The very concept of these lethal human strikes is rotten and no amount of internal review will change that. It’s a fool’s errand to try to regulate what is so fundamentally flawed.”
He said it “wasn’t so much a ‘targeted’ strike as a political one and it came at a heartbreaking human cost” and called for a moratorium “until we figure out what is going on.”
The review recommends that more be done to prevent what Said called “confirmation bias” — meaning those making the strike decision were too quick to conclude that what they were seeing aligned with the intelligence and confirmed their conclusion to bomb what turned out to be just one of the thousands of white Toyota Corollas daily on the streets of Kabul.
Said said that the review urged that personnel should be present with a strike team to actively question such conclusions and review “pre-strike procedures to assess the presence of civilians.”
The strike killed aid worker Zemari Ahmadi, who the Pentagon trackers believed to be a terrorist. Ahmadi was employed by Nutrition and Education International (NEI), a U.S.-based humanitarian organization.
“This investigation is deeply disappointing and inadequate because we’re left with many of the same questions we started with,” Dr. Steven Kwon, co-founder and president of NEI, said. “I do not understand how the most powerful military in the world could follow Zemari, an aid worker, in a commonly used car for eight hours, and not figure out who he was, and why he was at a U.S. aid organization’s headquarters.”
Said Hina Shamsi, director of ACLU’s National Security Project: “NEI and the surviving family members have repeatedly asked for meaningful transparency and accountability for the wrongful killing of their loved ones, but they did not receive it today. The Inspector General’s main findings of error, confirmation bias, and communication breakdowns are all too common with U.S. lethal strikes, and his recommendations do not remedy the tremendous harm here, or the likelihood that it will happen again.”
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