New bill introduced to hold US military accountable to civilian casualties

“Maximizing transparency will prevent further loss of life.”


Last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced the Protection of Civilians In Military Operations Act to increase military accountability and prevent civilian casualties. 

Khanna says this act will “ensure that the Pentagon provides accurate data not only on civilians killed in direct U.S. military operations, but also on civilians killed by U.S. partner forces, such as the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. This bill also takes the essential step of requiring the Pentagon to establish a publicly accessible database of its investigations into civilian casualties. Maximizing transparency will prevent further loss of life.”

Last Thursday, Warren introduced the new bill to the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

According to Common dreams, as it is currently written, the bill requires military commanders to appoint officers from outside their unit or chain of command to investigate civilian casualties caused by their unit. It also requires personnel involved in investigating civilian casualties to stay away from troops directly involved in military operations. Each commander of a geographic combatant command must also establish uninterrupted lines of communications between their command and the chief of mission in any country where they are operating.

The bill also includes a requirement stating the secretary of defense make Pentagon reports of investigations of civilian casualties publicly accessible as well as the requirement to appoint at least two designated officials in seven of the 11 US military combatant commands to oversee all casualty prevent instated and response. 

This Act would bring accountability to how many foreign lives the U.S. military takes. Accountability that has been lacking since the Bush administration.  


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