Carey Wedler / Activist Post & Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com – 2017-03-16 19:43:39
US Drone Strikes Have Gone Up 432% Since Trump Took Office
Carey Wedler / Activist Post
(March 10, 2017) — When he was in office, former President Barack Obama earned the ire of anti-war activists for his expansion of Bush’s drone wars. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning head of state ordered ten times more drone strikes than the previous president, and estimates late in Obama’s presidency showed 49 out of 50 victims were civilians. In 2015, it was reported that up to 90% of drone casualties were not the intended targets.
Current President Donald Trump campaigned on a less interventionist foreign policy, claiming to be opposed to nation-building and misguided invasions. But less than two months into his presidency, Trump has expanded the drone strikes that plagued Obama’s “peaceful” presidency.
According to an analysis from Micah Zenko, an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations, Trump has markedly increased US drone strikes since taking office. Zenko, who reported earlier this year on the over 26,000 bombs Obama dropped in 2016, summarized the increase:
During President Obama’s two terms in office, he approved 542 such targeted strikes in 2,920 days — one every 5.4 days. From his inauguration through today, President Trump had approved at least 36 drone strikes or raids in 45 days — one every 1.25 days.
That’s an increase of 432 percent.
He highlights some of the attacks:
These include three drone strikes in Yemen on January 20, 21, and 22; the January 28 Navy SEAL raid in Yemen; one reported strike in Pakistan on March 1; more than thirty strikes in Yemen on March 2 and 3; and at least one more on March 6.
The Trump administration has provided little acknowledgment of the human toll these strikes are taking. As journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in The Intercept, the Trump administration hastily brushed off recent civilian casualties in favor of honoring the life of a single US soldier who died during one of the Yemen raids just days after Trump took office:
The raid in Yemen that cost Owens his life also killed 30 other people, including ‘many civilians,’ at least nine of whom were children. None of them were mentioned by Trump in last night’s speech, let alone honored with applause and the presence of grieving relatives.
That’s because they were Yemenis, not Americans; therefore, their deaths, and lives, must be ignored (the only exception was some fleeting media mention of the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, but only because she was a US citizen and because of the irony that Obama killed her 16-year-old American brother with a drone strike).
Greenwald notes this is typical of not just Trump, but the American war machine in general:
We fixate on the Americans killed, learning their names and life stories and the plight of their spouses and parents, but steadfastly ignore the innocent people the US government kills, whose numbers are always far greater.
Though some Trump supporters sang his praises as a peace candidate before he took office, the president’s militarism was apparent on many occasions. He openly advocated increasing the size and scope of the military, a promise he is now moving to keep. And as Zenko highlights, Trump was disingenuous with his rhetoric against interventionism:
He claimed to have opposed the 2003 Iraq War when he actually backed it, and to have opposed the 2011 Libya intervention when he actually strongly endorsed it, including with US ground troops. Yet, Trump and his loyalists consistently implied that he would be less supportive of costly and bloody foreign wars, especially when compared to President Obama, and by extension, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As Trump continues to dig his heels into decades-old policies he has criticized himself — reportedly mulling over sending ground troops into Syria — he is increasingly proving to be yet another establishment warmonger implementing policies that spawn the creation of more terrorists. As Zenko concludes:
We are now on our third post-9/11 administration pursuing many of the same policies that have failed to meaningfully reduce the number of jihadist extremist fighters, or their attractiveness among potential recruits or self-directed terrorists. The Global War on Terrorism remains broadly unquestioned within Washington, no matter who is in the White House.
Creative Commons / Anti-Media
‘Bomb the Sh*t Out of Them!’
Trump Drones Yemen More in One Week Than Obama in a Year
Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com
(March 10, 2017) — Undeterred by the disastrous commando raid on Yemen in the first days of his Administration, where plenty of civilians were killed but the target got away, President Donald Trump has escalated US military involvement in the tragic Yemen conflict to an unprecedented level. In fact as Foreign Policy reports, the US President has bombed Yemen more in the past week than President Obama (no peacenik) has bombed in a year.
But although the US escalation in Yemen is sold back home as another aggressive front in the war against al-Qaeda, in fact US operations in Yemen are actually helping al-Qaeda as well as its chief sponsor, Saudi Arabia.
The problem is that because his advisors are increasingly drawn from the neocon camp, the advice he is given is filtered through the “noble lie” that the neocons view as the central tenet of their faith.
Thus even though the main enemies of al-Qaeda in Yemen are the Houthis, because Trump has been sold the neocon lie that the Houthis are Iranian proxies Trump is droning Yemen back to the stone age to the advantage of al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia, who are on the same side.
While it is arguable that the President has authority under the authorization for the use of military force against those attacked us on 9/11 to attack al-Qaeda in Yemen, very few would argue that such authorization extends to actually helping al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Meanwhile, US drone attacks are killing civilians in Yemen and contributing to the genocide of the Yemeni people whose only crime is to have rejected a president who ran unopposed — a US-backed “Arab Spring” candidate — and who immediately approved US drone strikes on his own country.
The Trump State Department is going all in. A sale of anti-Houthi weapons to Saudi Arabia that even the Obama administration rejected was hastily approved by the new Administration and soon will be deployed in Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression against its neighbor.
The Trump Administration is doubling down on all of President Obama’s mistakes. Siding with al-Qaeda in Yemen on the false notion that it is fighting a proxy war against Iran.
The neocons are running circles around the new US President. Deal-maker? On foreign affairs, he’s more like a vulnerable rube walking into a used car lot populated by shark car salesmen.
By the way, the Pentagon just finished investigating the Pentagon over the disastrous Yemen raid — where scores of civilians were gunned down by the US military in cold blood but they missed the claimed target. It may shock you, but the Pentagon found that the Pentagon had done nothing wrong. Investigation complete!
Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity. Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.