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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe Levant‘Honest Mistakes’: How US and Israel Justify Targeting and Killing Civilians

‘Honest Mistakes’: How US and Israel Justify Targeting and Killing Civilians

Author: Jonathan Cook

Affiliation: Independent Journalist and Author

Organization/Publisher: The Middle East Eye

Date/Place: November 16, 2021/UK

Type of Literature: Article 

Word Count: 2000


Keywords: USA, Israel, Afghanistan, Pentagon


The article stresses on the honest mistakes committed by the United States and the Israeli government and how international communities, particularly the International Criminal Court (ICC), keep mute and blind eyes to their unscrupulous injustices. The author argues that such killing of innocent civilians and categorizing as “honest mistakes” are a continuation of colonial narratives the Western world tells itself and the rest of the world. Western nations invade third world countries in the name of preaching and spreading Democracy, however, the author describes them as the evil advocates of democracy as they commit crimes against humanity then justify it. The author details how despite the war crimes that the US, Israel and Europe have committed against the Middle East that warrant them to be investigated and prosecuted by the ICC, they are still free and thus justice is compromised. Ironically, this is the opposite compared to the African leaders and others in the Middle East who are considered as prey of the ICC; only African leaders and rivals of NATO are prosecuted. Accordingly, the recent unscrupulous actions by the US Pentagon in Afghanistan that led to the killing of aid worker Zemarai Ahmadi and his family are given a blind eye by the ICC. The author further argues that the US’ unjust actions in the Middle East cannot be considered as honest mistakes because it has become a pattern of behaviour. The twenty years of US occupation in Afghanistan and its long year in Syria were defined by war crimes and airstrikes on innocent Afghan and Syrian civilians and children; however, the Western media will not see these atrocities as sensational. These honest mistakes by the Pentagon in Afghanistan are what led to its ultimate defeat by the Taliban. The US and UK occupation in Iraq were likewise justified by their politicians, however the inhuman actions of the Pentagon again cannot be considered as honest mistakes, as they included indiscriminate missile strikes on innocent Iraqi civilians, children and journalists. The author identifies how the states which cry the loudest that they kill innocents “by accident” or “unintentionally” or because “the terrorists shield behind them” are also the ones that keep killing innocents. The Israeli state cannot be exception to this. Innocent Palestinian children, women and human rights advocates keep dying year after year by what Israel considers honest mistakes, and the reason they give is akin to the Pentagon’s reasons. In 2014, 500 Palestinian children were killed and more than 850 civilians including women died at the hands of Israeli aggression, however, the Israeli government was not held accountable for this inhuman honest mistake. The author argues that despite the glaring injustice and killing of Afghans and Palestinians, both the US and Israel still cling to the claim that their actions are legally justified. However, their claims are not based in fact. The US has broken international law repeatedly in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israeli aggression and apartheid against Palestinians is illegal and not justifiable. With the plethora of violations, the complicit International Criminal Court still remains a tool of the West.

By: Alieu Jawo, CIGA Research Intern



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