The Pentagon praises a New York Times series that exposed civilian deaths in air warfare

A New York Times investigation last year revealed a tragic wave of undisclosed civilian deaths from the US air war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

The show was deeply critical of the US government and won on Monday the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Then it got some praise from a more unlikely source: the US government.

John F. Kirby, Defense Department Press Officer, recognized to reporters Tuesday at the Pentagon that the investigation was “not comfortable, not easy and not simple to deal with”.

“We know we had more work to do to better prevent harm to civilians and we are doing it,” said Kirby. “We knew we had made mistakes; we are trying to learn from those mistakes. And we knew we weren’t always as transparent about those mistakes as we should have. “

the Time serieswhich included several articles and multimedia presentations, drew on a hidden Pentagon archive containing confidential assessments of more than 1,300 civilian casualty reports since 2014. Among other findings, it revealed imperfect information and the inaccurate use of drones and bombs that had been presented. to public as highly reliable and accurate.

In several cases, the Times found, US military officials worked to protect civilian deaths from public view, offering misleading assessments that hid the true toll of wandering drone attacks.

“I can’t say this process was pleasant,” Kirby said of the cover. “But I guess that’s the point. It should not be. This is what a free press does at its best. He is keen to account for it “.

In his remarks, Mr. Kirby also acknowledged the special quote awarded by the Pulitzer Council to Ukrainian journalists covering the current invasion by forces controlled by Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.

“It’s hard to read, hard to watch,” Kirby said of Ukrainian coverage. “But you know what? It should be, based on what Mr. Putin is doing. And the courage and skill they are showing every day are truly inspiring. “

Mr. Kirby was nominated for his role on the first day of the Biden administration. Previously, he was a press officer for the Pentagon and the State Department in the Obama administration.