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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 1868 signatures
Number Date Name Location
1868 2 weeks ago L. Glasner NY, NY
1867 3 months ago Never Ever
1866 5 months ago Marci McCartney
1865 6 months ago Erika Gles Mercer Island, WA
1864 6 months ago Mercy Grieco Fresno, AL Too many civilians killed by the so-called "targeted" strikes. Something stinks.
1863 6 months ago Marilyn Hacker New York, NY
1862 6 months ago Elizabeth G. Clark Buffalo, NY
1861 6 months ago Jan Schwartz Tucson,
1860 6 months ago Bob Ripley Oklahoma City, OK
1859 6 months ago Mark Haasis Peoria, IL
1858 6 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 6 months ago Erin Polley Indianapolis, IN
1856 6 months ago m nolan elk grove, IL
1855 6 months ago Maggie Martin Decatur, TN
1854 6 months ago Elizabeth Jennings Olivebridge, NY
1853 6 months ago Bruce Hlodnicki Indianapolis, IN
1852 6 months ago Clifford Provost New York, NY
1851 6 months ago Anonymous lauderhill, FL
1850 6 months ago Carol Rainey Cincinnati, OH
1849 6 months ago Honour Horne-Jaruk Kettering, OH
1848 6 months ago Linda Gottschalk Green Bay, WI
1847 6 months ago Steven Fleming Gualala, CA
1846 6 months ago David Dunn Olympia, WA
1845 6 months ago Marie Fitzpatrick Philadelphia, PA
1844 6 months ago Paul Haider Chicago, IL We are demanding that the innocent lives of civilians are treated with the same respect as the lives of our troops. Of course, we are also demanding that Dickhead Cheney is arrested and sentenced f...
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