Why Are We Still Killing Civilians in Armed Conflicts?



Recently, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a 41-page report on the Yemen conflict, revealing that both the coalition and rebel forces have committed human rights violations and war crimes, recommending that they be tried in the Human Rights Court for their actions. The report claimed that both the Coalition, of which the United States is a part of, and rebel forces have committed various human rights abuses, including torture and illegal detainment. Further, the report asserts that freedom of expression has been severely limited by both sides of the conflict.

Perhaps the most disheartening and depressing statement in this report is that "since March 2015 up to 23 August 2018, 6,660 civilians were killed and 10,563 injured; however, the real figures are likely to be significantly higher." Citizens, those disconnected from the actual conflict, have been injured and killed in high numbers in the short span of just under three-and-a-half years. That is over 6 thousand families who have lost someone, countless friends who will not see the departed's faces ever again. Undoubtedly there are now empty chairs at dinner tables, empty silences in conversations where the departed used to interject, and empty holes in the hearts of many over the loss of their friends and family.
"Since March 2015 up to 23 August 2018, 6,660 civilians were killed and 10,563 injured; however, the real figures are likely to be significantly higher." - Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Why, in 2018, where missile guidance technology enables military agencies to send missiles thousands of miles to hit within 3 meters of a target, are civilians being killed and injured en masse? In an age where satellite imaging gives crystal-clear, high-resolution feeds, why do governments still kill thousands of civilians in war? Factor in advanced networks of spies, internet monitoring, and crime prediction software, and the question becomes even more puzzling.

While it is unclear where the UN's OCHCR's loyalties lie, there is one question that could be posited concerning the methodology of this report. Is it possible that these citizens were not innocent bystanders? It is certainly doubtful, as the report states that "in the past three years, such air strikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities." That is quite an unusual list of "military targets," wouldn't you say? Imagine going shopping one day only to find that the market has been blown to smitherines. Imagine attending a funeral and seeing explosions and flames and a crater where people used to be, that is, if you are one of the few who survive. 
There is no excuse for the death of civilians with the capabilities present in today's intelligence world.
This is clearly a travesty that must be stopped. There is no excuse for the death of civilians with the capabilities present in today's intelligence world. We have the means to monitor everyone at a moment's notice. We have satellite imagery capable of incredible detail and guided missiles that can come within 3 meters of their targets. The only reason that makes sense to me with the present information we have available on this subject is that such massive numbers of civilians are attacked because governments and rebels want to attack them, and there is no excuse for such actions.

If other reports show that the overwhelming majority of civilians killed in these conflicts are, indeed, actively engaging in the war, then that changes things, but, considering some of the targets chosen for the air strikes, I find that doubtful.

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