Lee Camp / TruthDig & Whitney Webb / Mint Press – 2018-06-30 00:10:41
Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes
And No One Is Talking About It
Lee Camp / TruthDig
(June 19, 2018) — We live in a state of perpetual war, and we never feel it. While you get your gelato at the hip place where they put those cute little mint leaves on the side, someone is being bombed in your name. While you argue with the 17-year-old at the movie theater who gave you a small popcorn when you paid for a large, someone is being obliterated in your name.
While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names.
Once every 12 minutes.
The United States military drops an explosive with a strength you can hardly comprehend once every 12 minutes. And that’s odd, because we’re technically at war with — let me think — zero countries. So that should mean zero bombs are being dropped, right?
Hell no! You’ve made the common mistake of confusing our world with some sort of rational, cogent world in which our military-industrial complex is under control, the music industry is based on merit and talent, Legos have gently rounded edges (so when you step on them barefoot, it doesn’t feel like an armor-piercing bullet just shot straight up your sphincter), and humans are dealing with climate change like adults rather than burying our heads in the sand while trying to convince ourselves that the sand around our heads isn’t getting really, really hot.
You’re thinking of a rational world. We do not live there.
Instead, we live in a world where the Pentagon is completely and utterly out of control. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the $21 trillion (that’s not a typo) that has gone unaccounted for at the Pentagon. But I didn’t get into the number of bombs that ridiculous amount of money buys us.
President George W. Bush’s military dropped 70,000 bombs on five countries. But of that outrageous number, only 57 of those bombs really upset the international community.
Because there were 57 strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen — countries the US was neither at war with nor had ongoing conflicts with. And the world was kind of horrified. There was a lot of talk that went something like, “Wait a second. We’re bombing in countries outside of war zones?
Is it possible that’s a slippery slope ending in us just bombing all the goddamn time? (Awkward pause.) . . . Nah. Whichever president follows Bush will be a normal adult person (with a functional brain stem of some sort) and will therefore stop this madness.”
We were so cute and naive back then, like a kitten when it’s first waking up in the morning.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that under President Barack Obama there were “563 strikes, largely by drones, that targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. . . .”
It’s not just the fact that bombing outside of a war zone is a horrific violation of international law and global norms. It’s also the morally reprehensible targeting of people for pre-crime, which is what we’re doing and what the Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report” warned us about.
(Humans are very bad at taking the advice of sci-fi dystopias. If we’d listened to “1984,” we wouldn’t have allowed the existence of the National Security Agency. If we listened to “The Terminator,” we wouldn’t have allowed the existence of drone warfare. And if we’d listened to “The Matrix,” we wouldn’t have allowed the vast majority of humans to get lost in a virtual reality of spectacle and vapid nonsense while the oceans die in a swamp of plastic waste. . . . But you know, who’s counting?)
There was basically a media blackout while Obama was president. You could count on one hand the number of mainstream media reports on the Pentagon’s daily bombing campaigns under Obama. And even when the media did mention it, the underlying sentiment was, “Yeah, but look at how suave Obama is while he’s OK’ing endless destruction. He’s like the Steve McQueen of aerial death.”
And let’s take a moment to wipe away the idea that our “advanced weaponry” hits only the bad guys. As David DeGraw put it, “According to the CIA’s own documents, the people on the ‘kill list,’ who were targeted for ‘death-by-drone,’ accounted for only 2% of the deaths caused by the drone strikes.”
Two percent. Really, Pentagon? You got a two on the test? You get five points just for spelling your name right.
But those 70,000 bombs dropped by Bush — it was child’s play. DeGraw again: “[Obama] dropped 100,000 bombs in seven countries. He out-bombed Bush by 30,000 bombs and 2 countries.”
You have to admit that’s impressively horrific. That puts Obama in a very elite group of Nobel Peace Prize winners who have killed that many innocent civilians. The reunions are mainly just him and Henry Kissinger wearing little hand-drawn name tags and munching on deviled eggs.
However, we now know that Donald Trump’s administration puts all previous presidents to shame. The Pentagon’s numbers show that during George W. Bush’s eight years he averaged 24 bombs dropped per day, which is 8,750 per year. Over the course of Obama’s time in office, his military dropped 34 bombs per day, 12,500 per year. And in Trump’s first year in office, he averaged 121 bombs dropped per day, for an annual total of 44,096.
Trump’s military dropped 44,000 bombs in his first year in office.
He has basically taken the gloves off the Pentagon, taken the leash off an already rabid dog. So the end result is a military that’s behaving like Lil Wayne crossed with Conor McGregor. You look away for one minute, look back, and are like, “What the fuck did you just do? I was gone for like, a second!”
Under Trump, five bombs are dropped per hour — every hour of every day. That averages out to a bomb every 12 minutes.
And which is more outrageous — the crazy amount of death and destruction we are creating around the world, or the fact that your mainstream corporate media basically NEVER investigates it?
They talk about Trump’s flaws. They say he’s a racist, bulbous-headed, self-centered idiot (which is totally accurate) — but they don’t criticize the perpetual Amityville massacre our military perpetrates by dropping a bomb every 12 minutes, most of them killing 98 percent non-targets.
When you have a Department of War with a completely unaccountable budget — as we saw with the $21 trillion — and you have a president with no interest in overseeing how much death the Department of War is responsible for, then you end up dropping so many bombs that the Pentagon has reported we are running out of bombs.
Oh, dear God. If we run out of our bombs, then how will we stop all those innocent civilians from . . . farming? Think of all the goats that will be allowed to go about their days.
And, as with the $21 trillion, the theme seems to be “unaccountable.”
Journalist Witney Webb wrote in February:
“Shockingly, more than 80 percent of those killed have never even been identified and the CIA’s own documents have shown that they are not even aware of who they are killing — avoiding the issue of reporting civilian deaths simply by naming all those in the strike zone as enemy combatants.”
That’s right. We kill only enemy combatants. How do we know they’re enemy combatants? Because they were in our strike zone. How did we know it was a strike zone? Because there were enemy combatants there. How did we find out they were enemy combatants? Because they were in the strike zone. . . . Want me to keep going, or do you get the point? I have all day.
This is not about Trump, even though he’s a maniac. It’s not about Obama, even though he’s a war criminal. It’s not about Bush, even though he has the intelligence of boiled cabbage. (I haven’t told a Bush joke in about eight years. Felt kind of good. Maybe I’ll get back into that.)
This is about a runaway military-industrial complex that our ruling elite are more than happy to let loose. Almost no one in Congress or the presidency tries to restrain our 121 bombs a day. Almost no one in a mainstream outlet tries to get people to care about this.
Recently, the hashtag #21Trillion for the unaccounted Pentagon money has gained some traction. Let’s get another one started: #121BombsADay.
One every 12 minutes.
Do you know where they’re hitting? Who they’re murdering? Why?
One hundred and twenty-one bombs a day rip apart the lives of families a world away — in your name and my name and the name of the kid doling out the wrong size popcorn at the movie theater.
We are a rogue nation with a rogue military and a completely unaccountable ruling elite. The government and military you and I support by being a part of this society are murdering people every 12 minutes, and in response, there’s nothing but a ghostly silence. It is beneath us as a people and a species to give this topic nothing but silence. It is a crime against humanity.
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of the weekly comedy news TV show “Redacted Tonight With Lee Camp” on RT America. If you think this column is important, please share it. Also, check out Lee Camp’s weekly TV show “Redacted Tonight” and weekly podcast “Common Censored.”
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Trump’s Drone Kill Rate 80 Times Greater than Under Bush
Whitney Webb / Mint Press
(February 2, 2018) — During the 2016 election, Donald Trump — quite successfully — managed to convince a sizable portion of the electorate that he would take a much more anti-interventionist stance, in terms of US military entanglements abroad, than would his contender Hillary Clinton. Yet, throughout his first year as president, such differences have been few and far between.
In particular, it has been Trump’s dangerous expansion of the drone war that has authoritatively destroyed any illusion that Trump would genuinely put “America first” — and put an end to dangerous military operations abroad that only serve to exacerbate the horrendously bungled War on Terror.
For instance, after gutting the already lax regulations on drone strikes and giving the CIA free rein to kill whomever they choose, it took Trump only seven months to surpass the number of civilian deaths that occurred during Obama’s entire eight-year presidency, according to non-profit monitoring group Airwars.
The covert drone war program, first created under George W. Bush, was a key part of the War on Terror whereby terror suspects could be targeted and killed covertly. However, under his presidency, only 57 strikes were conducted in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, with between 384 and 807 civilians killed. The program was greatly expanded during the Obama administration, which conducted 563 strikes in those same countries. Now, under Trump, drone strikes targeting these countries have skyrocketed.
In 2017, the US bombed Yemen 127 times alone, compared to 32 strikes conducted in 2016. In Pakistan and Somalia, the number of strikes have also increased under Trump. In Somalia, for instance, 34 drone strikes were conducted last year, the same number as all US drone strikes conducted in Somalia from 2001 to 2016.
As the number of drone strikes has grown, so too has the number of civilian casualties. Trump’s drone assassination rate is now eight times that of Obama. Obama’s, in turn, was 10 times that of Bush, making Trump’s drone kill rate a whopping 80 times higher than that of Bush. In other words, Trump is on track to be a record-breaking war criminal.
However, the problem is bigger than just the innocent lives claimed as a result of the “covert” drone war. Civilian deaths resulting from US airstrikes in Iraq, Libya and Syria reached between 3,923 to 6,102 last year under Trump. This startling figure marks a massive increase from civilian deaths reported during the Obama administration, which was responsible for between 2,298 to 3,398 civilian deaths during Obama’s eight years in office.
Ninety-eight Percent Collateral Damage
More troubling than the sheer number of strikes conducted is the fact that US drone strikes kill far more civilians than supposed militants. Indeed, militant leaders on the controversial US “kill list” account for a mere 2 percent of drone-related deaths, with strikes confirmed to kill civilians 90 percent of the time.
Shockingly, more than 80 percent of those killed have never even been identified and the CIA’s own documents have shown that they are not even aware of who they are killing — avoiding the issue of reporting civilian deaths simply by naming all those in the strike zone as enemy combatants.
The jump in the number of drone strikes and civilian deaths is largely owing to Trump’s decision last March that allowed the CIA to conduct strikes without White House approval. This policy change overhauled the Obama administration requirement that the military would carry out strikes the CIA had identified.
Not only has this led to an increase in reported drone strikes, it has also made reporting drone strikes — and their casualties — more difficult, as the CIA, unlike the Pentagon, is not required to disclose the strikes it conducts. Thus, the harrowing figures of civilian deaths incurred under the Trump-led drone war are likely a fraction of the actual total.
Trump’s dramatic reversal, played out over the first year of his presidency, is not very surprising given that his “anti-war” credentials touted on the campaign trail were falsified. For instance, Trump claimed to have opposed both the invasion of Iraq — resulting in over a million dead — and the invasion of Libya, which has resulted in a failed state now plagued by slavery and terrorism.
In fact, however, he supported both of these disastrous invasions, even supporting the deployment of US ground troops in Libya to remove Muammar Gaddafi from power.
The ruse of Trump’s anti-interventionism was painted in disappearing ink along his campaign trail, giving way to a presidency that has no qualms about leaving thousands of innocent civilians dead in its wake.
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, the Anti-Media, and 21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.