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[casi] Military Tactics in Iraq Killed Civilians

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Dear Casi

This is some thing that the American Minister of health for Iraq dose not want to see or look into 
it. After all he is an American citizen with an Iraqi name!

Best regards
Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar
Baghdad, occupied Iraq
Military Tactics in Iraq Killed Civilians, Report Says
Fri December 12, 2003 01:10 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than 1,000 civilians were killed or wounded by U.S. and British cluster 
bombs in the Iraq war, while Iraqi violations of humanitarian law led to significant civilian 
casualties, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
The New York-based watchdog group said its research in Iraq between April 29 and June 1 in 10 
cities was not intended to find out the number of civilian casualties but to focus on military 
tactics that caused them.

It said that while U.S.-led forces took precautions to spare civilians and uphold the legal 
obligations of warfare, different military practices in the ground war, the air war and the 
post-conflict period could have prevented civilian deaths.

The report, "Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq," said 
ground-launched cluster

bombs killed or hurt more than 1,000 civilians, while "decapitation" strikes aimed at Iraqi leaders 
killed dozens of noncombatants.

Cluster munitions are small bomblets scattered on a target area by larger bombs, rockets or 
artillery shells. Some of those bombs contain hundreds of smaller explosive devices, which can be 
designed to kill enemy troops or rip treads off tanks. They can be very dangerous close to civilian 
areas because they disperse widely.

A U.S. defense official said the use of cluster munitions was legal under international law. He 
said they were "carefully chosen for the intended objective and to mitigate unintended 

U.S. and British forces used almost 13,000 cluster bombs, said the report, which was sourced to 
more than 200 interviews with victims and their families, Iraqi doctors, U.S. and British military 
personnel and others.

The report added that 50 strikes on Iraqi leaders -- the "decapitation strategy" -- failed to kill 
any of them. Instead, dozens of civilians were killed because of inadequate precision.

The "decapitation" strategy "also failed on human rights grounds," said Human Rights Watch 
Executive Director Kenneth Roth. "It's no good using a precise weapon if the target hasn't been 
located precisely."

A U.S. defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said in response that the strikes 
against Baghdad's command and control were "a legitimate use of military force. It was done with 
great care, and had the real potential to save lives on both sides by shortening the war."

Human Rights Watch said Iraqi troops broke international humanitarian law by the use of human 
shields and abuse of the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems.

Furthermore, the Iraq military used land mines and placed military objects in mosques and 
hospitals. The practice of Iraqi soldiers wearing civilian clothes blurred distinctions between 
civilians and combatants.

All of those tactics "may have led to significant civilian casualties," according to the report.

The exact number of Iraqi civilians killed is not known. As of Thursday, the Web site has estimated between 7,935 and 9,766 civilians killed, based on incidents 
reported by at least two media sources.

The report said the failure of U.S. and British troops to secure weapons caches and ammunition 
abandoned by the Iraqi military "and the ready availability of these explosives also led to dozens 
of civilian casualties."

(Additional reporting by Will Dunham in Washington

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