“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa,” Mattis said. “We’re not going to allow them to do so. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.” He warned that it would be “a long fight” and that innocent men, women and children would inevitably die.
“Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation,” Mattis asserted. “We’re not the perfect guys, but we are the good guys. And so we’re doing what we can [to avoid harming civilians].”
Perpetrators of Islamist terror attacks have long cited U.S. killing of innocents as a primary motivating factor. Salman Abedi, the leading suspect in the May 22 bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in Britain that killed 22 people, reportedly carried out the horrific attack to avenge the deaths of innocent people killed by U.S. air strikes in Syria. Mattis referenced Manchester in his speech, but only as justification for keeping up the fight against IS.
Mattis insisted that “the American people and the American military will never get used to civilian casualties.” However, there has been little to no coverage in the U.S. corporate mainstream media — especially on cable and network television news — of the dramatic increase in civilian deaths since Donald Trump became commander-in-chief. While campaigning for president, Trump vowed to “bomb the shit” out of IS fighters and kill their families, a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Since entering office, Trump has loosened rules of engagement meant to protect civilians in the war against terrorism. As U.S. forces assist Syrian rebels in the fight to capture Raqqa, the de facto IS capital in Syria, and aid Iraqi allies in the battle for Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, civilian deaths and injuries have soared.