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Demand the United States Military Prioritize Civilian Lives

Demand the United States Military Prioritize Civilian Lives

This fall marks twelve years since the invasion of Afghanistan. While many Americans can cite the more than 2,200 Americans killed and the billions of dollars spent on that war, even those who are vociferously antiwar often fail to discuss, or even comprehend, its catastrophic effects on Afghan civilians. In part to remedy this collective ignorance, The Nation created an interactive database detailing Afghan civilian deaths by United States and coalition forces. As both the project and the accompanying issue of the magazine document, the United States military has often been inadequate to the task of accounting for the lives lost in its armed conflicts.  

This reality is reflected in the Pentagon's allocation of resources; the Department of Defense does not have an office dedicated explicitly to tracking and reducing civilian casualties. As a result, lessons are often not institutionalized and the military risks repeating its mistakes. As Robert Dreyfuss and Nick Turse write, “the American people, the media, academia and think tanks all have a role to play in demanding that, in any future wars, the United States place the highest priority on avoiding civilian casualties and, if they occur, on being accountable and making amends.”

It would be nice to live in a world where war and militarization were rare, but, until then, we must demand the protection of innocent life when conflicts happen. Sign our open letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asking him to implement a permanent office at the Pentagon dedicated to monitoring and preventing civilian casualties. Then, for more information on documenting the human costs of war, visit the Center for Civilians in Conflict.

An Afghan woman approaches US soldiers
Afghan woman and girl approach soldiers from the U.S. Army during a dismounted patrol in Kandahar. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne)

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1-25 of 1869 signatures
Number Date Name Location
1869 3 weeks ago Anonymous Carrara, ot
1868 6 months ago L Glasner NY, NY
1867 8 months ago Never Ever
1866 11 months ago Marci McCartney
1865 11 months ago Erika Gles Mercer Island, WA
1864 11 months ago Mercy Grieco Fresno, CA Too many civilians killed by the so-called "targeted" strikes. Something stinks.
1863 11 months ago Marilyn Hacker New York, NY
1862 11 months ago Elizabeth G. Clark Buffalo, NY
1861 11 months ago Jan Schwartz Tucson,
1860 11 months ago Bob Ripley Oklahoma City, OK
1859 11 months ago Mark Haasis Peoria, IL
1858 11 months ago Ira Harritt Kansas City, MO Current so called "anti-terrorism" strategies results in civilian deaths, which increase anger against the U.S. and more terrorism. There are no winners in this approach, except war contractors.
1857 11 months ago Erin Polley Indianapolis, IN
1856 11 months ago michael nolan elk grove, IL
1855 11 months ago Maggie Martin Decatur, TN
1854 12 months ago Elizabeth Jennings Olivebridge, NY
1853 12 months ago Bruce Hlodnicki INDIANAPOLIS, IN
1852 12 months ago Clifford Provost New York, NY
1851 12 months ago Anonymous lauderhill, FL
1850 12 months ago Carol Rainey Cincinnati, OH
1849 12 months ago Honour Horne-Jaruk Kettering, OH
1848 12 months ago Linda Gottschalk Green Bay, WI
1847 12 months ago Steven Fleming Gualala, CA
1846 12 months ago David Dunn Olympia, WA
1845 12 months ago Marie Fitzpatrick Philadelphia, PA
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