The Intercept published a Pentagon investigation into the killing of a mother and her four-year-old daughter in Somalia in 2018. It’s not happy reading.
The report shows that the U.S. military killed civilians carelessly and when the military investigated itself, they found that they had not made any mistakes. Oops, a child was killed but we did everything right. Moving on.
In fact, the military targeted a pickup truck that the woman and her child had hitched a ride on. After the strike, the mother and child tried to run away so the military circled back and targeted them.
According to The Intercept, the report “reveals that after months of ‘target development,’ the Americans suddenly found themselves in a mad rush to kill people who posed no threat to the United States in a war that Congress never declared. They argued among themselves about even the most basic details, like how many passengers were in the vehicle. And in the end, they got it wrong. The Americans couldn’t tell a man from a woman, which might have affected their decision to conduct the strike. They also missed the 4-year-old child whose presence should have caused them to stand down.”
A drone pilot spoke anonymously to The Intercept about operations in Somalia and said this: “It was like ‘We can do whatever we want.’ It was a different mindset from the Special Forces I worked with in Afghanistan. There was almost no quality control on the vetting of the strikes. A lot of safeguards got left out.”