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U.S. Military Killed 12 Civilians in War Zones in 2021

The Defense Department reported yesterday that it killed 12 civilians and injured 5 more in its worldwide war-fighting in 2021:

The report details 12 total deaths from U.S. forces in “a declared theater of active armed conflict,” which the report defines as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria. All of the deaths occurred in Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. “DOD does not assess other U.S. military operations in 2021 resulted in civilian casualties,” the report says, and only actions “attributed to the use of U.S.-operated weapons” are listed.

Included are the 10 deaths on Aug. 29 from the case of mistaken identity that killed a family during America’s rushed withdrawal from Kabul. In addition, approximately five civilians were injured by American forces in 2021, two in Afghanistan and three in a Jan. 1 airstrike in Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. Three cases of potential civilian casualty incidents in 2021 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria “continue to be under assessment,” according to the report, which Congress has mandated since 2018.

The report details 10 deaths and 18 injuries from American strikes that occurred in Syria from 2018 to 2020 that previous annual reports did not account for [Chris Gordon, “Pentagon Releases Report Detailing Civilian Casualties in 2021,” Air and Space Forces Magazine, 2022.09.27].

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed 5,996 civilians and injured 8,848, mostly in shelling, rocket attacks, and air strikes. Our support of Ukraine’s defense is not a United States military operation, so the Department of Defense will not be sifting through UN reports or Ukrainian rubble to figure out what fraction of those civilian deaths may have been caused by American munitions.


  1. Mark Wolski 2022-09-28

    You might want to stick to South Dakota news.

  2. larry kurtz 2022-09-28

    With drought taking hold in the upper basin we should be sending thoughts and prayers in advance for the wretched masses that have poisoned their own wells and tapped into big gubmint to water lawns while they complain about Waters of the United States or WOTUS.

    There are 679 bases in the United States with known or suspected PFAS contamination and according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) the Department of Defense has not fully briefed farmers about the likely pollution of surface and groundwater near some 36 of 126 military bases with the highest parts per trillion of PFAS contamination.

    Officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base say water wells in Box Elder have tested above the US Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level at 551,000 parts per trillion for two chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — compounds in foam used to fight petroleum-based fires at a site where pit fires are common. Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls is poisoned with over 255,000 parts per trillion and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota suffers 453,000 parts per trillion.

    In 2018 it was revealed PFAS have been spewing from Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, home of the plane that dropped a Massive Ordnance Air Blast or ‘Mother of all Bombs’ on Afghanistan. Art Schaap, an area dairy operator dumped milk and destroyed some of his herd because area wells were contaminated with “forever chemicals” like PFAS.

  3. LCJ 2022-09-28

    A year ago Joe Biden killed 13 US soldiers.

  4. larry kurtz 2022-09-28

    The United States is the arms dealer to the world and averse to gun control at home as it assassinates children, women and men throughout the Muslim world. Hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and beyond.

    South Dakota’s Ellsworth Air Force Base has butchered countless civilians during the actions to protect the heroin trade keeping the Trump Organization, the Russian mob and the American Central Intelligence Agency in cash. The Republican-led wars there and in Iraq have cost American taxpayers some $6 TRILLION.

    This country’s founders never expected the US Constitution as written to last more than ten years and most predicted it would be rewritten every generation. Thomas Jefferson wrote that a standing army would lead to military adventurism, would ultimately turn on its own citizens and that has happened.

  5. Dicta 2022-09-28

    I never killed a single woman or child. I did witness jihadis use a pregnant woman as a bomb to kill two of my friends. But yeah: paint us as the invading hoard, I guess. And you wonder why independents can’t stand some of you as much as we can’t stand psychopathic trump supporters. Your words don’t exist in a vacuum.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-09-28

    Nobody is Independent. The United Snakes is an invading horde by its very definition but sure: deny our role in world conquest.

  7. Dicta 2022-09-28

    And I guess you can paint us all with the same brush instead of seeing some of us as poor white trash who just wanted to go to college and joined in peace time. You have no idea what people go through, Larry.

  8. larry kurtz 2022-09-28

    George Washington was a warlord because enslaved people afforded him cannon, muskets, powder and ball. And, if they were alive today he and President Jefferson would be horrified to learn the US is operating on a manual written in the Eighteenth Century. Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt would be putting American Indigenous in concentration camps arguing it’s for their own protection.

    But prohibition won’t work. Yes, bullying can lead to massacres but when the US ended the draft in 1973 the number of mass shootings began to rise. Compulsory military service or police training might indeed be one way to slow gun violence. Enlistment could look like the Swiss model where soon after high school eighteen year olds would join for two years then re-up or enroll in the college or vocational training of ones choosing. Raise the civilian age of possession, operation and ownership of all firearms to 21, levy 100% excise taxes on the sales of semi-automatic weapons then tag the revenue for Medicaid expansion so parents have the resources to address the devastating effects of Fox News on American youth.

  9. All Mammal 2022-09-28

    All this needless killing and Putin is still breathing? Bomb the Kremlin. Kill the bastard before the world has 12 million bodies to ID all over again. When a dictator psycho d-bag is on the come-up, put the rabid punk down before he get his comeuppance. Before Europe freezes and Africa starves and Mr. Dicta has to see more bloodshed. Ffs. And get our people home safely to help clean and protect our water- not murk it. Get to planting some trees to save the planet from greenhouse fumes. Shovels. Not rifles.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-09-28

    Harry Truman was a war criminal. Draft resistors were vilified in 1968 for refusing to napalm Vietnamese babies but today are being lauded for fleeing the former Soviet Union instead of nuking Ukrainian children.

  11. larry kurtz 2022-09-28

    In 1974, President Richard Nixon issued a limited presidential pardon to convicted killer William Calley of My Lai Massacre fame after he and American troops, some under his command, raped and butchered some 500 unarmed Vietnamese people in 1968.

    Prisoner of War Leonard Peltier is guilty of far, far lesser offenses. Peltier is a prisoner of the United States’ longest war—waged against Indigenous Americans since 1776 and the Declaration of Independence.

    After being convicted in 1977 then sentenced to two life terms for killing two enemy combatants under the fog of war on a battlefield inside the Oglala Lakota Nation in occupied South Dakota in 1975 Peltier applied for compassionate release in 2018 and again in 2020 but was always denied because Donald Trump despises American Indians.

  12. leslie 2022-09-28

    Yesterday Putin likely blew up Danish-area gas pipelines w/mines in a sabotaged retaliation to sanctions and Europe’s shift from Russian energy because of it’s aggression against Ukraine (Trump’s pet project, while Trump’s love interest, Kim Jung Ill happily shoots off ballistic missiles at Japan and VP Harris) conveniently just outside NATO/UN jurisdiction, releasing methane into the sea and atmosphere during a potential world war/climate crisis.

    Coddling Trump’s deplorables and apologists is dangerous business.

  13. leslie 2022-09-28

    Apologist for terrorists now, LCJ took a cheap shot fir which is characteristic, and said: “A year ago Joe Biden killed 13 US soldiers.”

    A month ago our PRESIDENT said:

    They were heroes, working to save lives as part of the largest airlift evacuation operation in our history,…The attack, which was attributed to a branch of the terrorist group ISIS, killed Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover; Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez; Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page; Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui; Navy Petty Officer Third Class Maxton W. Soviak; and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss.

    “Today, I am praying for the families of those 13 fallen warriors, who lost a piece of their soul one year ago. Our nation can never repay such incredible sacrifice—but we will never fail to honor our sacred obligation to the families and survivors they left behind,” Biden said Friday.

    “I am also holding in my heart all those who lost their child, partner, parent, sibling, loved one, or battle buddy over our two decades of war in Afghanistan. 2,461 American troops made the ultimate sacrifice. 20,744 were wounded, so many whose lives are forever marked by their injuries. It is a painful reminder that there is nothing low-cost or low-grade about war for those we ask to fight for us.”

    Biden pointed to U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the year since he ordered troops out of Afghanistan. He specifically cited recent missions that killed the leader of ISIS in Syria and an al-Qaeda leader who was in Afghanistan….The Hill

  14. mike from iowa 2022-09-28

    Biden isn’t targeting civilians like Putie’s puppet, drumpf.

  15. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-28

    We are in a constant war defending “American Interests” throughout the world. We project our power to protect “trade” and business interests needing to acquire and develop the natural resources of other countries. It’s all about the unimpaired “ebb and flow” of dollars throughout the world. We benefit greatly from this system though those benefits do not seem to trickle down adequately that we can afford to pay for lunch for all school children.

  16. P. Aitch 2022-09-28

    I was about to inform Mr. Wolski why Cory’s blog is more interesting than the blog that only talks about SD politics because Pat Power’s ulterior motive is to sell cardboard signs and election stuff to anyone who wants to run for office not to address issues that affect SD voters.
    But I thought better because Cory doesn’t need me to answer Mr. Wolski.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-28

    P.Aitch, I don’t have an answer, but I do have a question: Mark, why might I want to stick with South Dakota news?

  18. Ryan 2022-09-28

    Cory, as a part-time (absolutely masterful) troll myself, i suggest just ignoring that troll. Stockholm syndrome is more powerful than religion.

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