How Many Bombs Did the United States Drop in 2015?
January 14, 2016
Micah Zenko / Council on Foreign Relations & Sorcha Faal / What Does It Mean
In 2014, the CIA estimated the size of the Islamic State to be between 20,000 and 31,000 fighters. Pentagon officials claim that at least 25,000 Islamic State fighters have been killed by US bombs. 23,144 bombs were dropped on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia in 2015. Following the Pentagons announcement that 6 innocent civilians have died, Russian diplomats lauded President Barack Obama for developing what can only be described as a "miracle bomb."
How Many Bombs Did the United States Drop in 2015?
Micah Zenko / Council on Foreign Relations
(January 7, 2016) -- The primary focus -- meaning the commitment of personnel, resources, and senior leaders' attention -- of US counterterrorism policies is the capture or killing (though, overwhelmingly killing) of existing terrorists. Far less money and programmatic attention is dedicated to preventing the emergence of new terrorists.
As an anecdotal example of this, I often ask US government officials and mid-level staffers, "what are you doing to prevent a neutral person from becoming a terrorist?" They always claim this is not their responsibility, and point toward other agencies, usually the Department of State (DOS) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where this is purportedly their obligation internationally or domestically, respectively.
DOS and DHS officials then refer generally to "countering violent extremism" policies, while acknowledging that US government efforts on this front have been wholly ineffective.
The primary method for killing suspected terrorists is with stand-off precision airstrikes. With regard to the self-declared Islamic State, US officials have repeatedly stated that the pathway to "destroying" the terrorist organization is by killing every one of its current members. Last February, Marie Harf, DOS spokesperson, said, "We are killing them and will continue killing ISIS terrorists that pose a threat to us."
Then, in June, Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, Combined Forces Air Component commander, stated, "We kill them wherever we find them," and just this week, Col. Steve Warren, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, claimed, "If you're part of ISIL, we will kill you. That's our rule."
The problem with this "kill-em'-all with airstrikes" rule, is that it is not working. Pentagon officials claim that at least 25,000 Islamic State fighters have been killed (an anonymous official said 23,000 in November, while on Wednesday, Warren added "about 2,500" more were killed in December.)
Remarkably, they also claim that alongside the 25,000 fighters killed, only 6 civilians have "likely" been killed in the seventeen-month air campaign. At the same time, officials admit that the size of the group has remained wholly unchanged. In 2014, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated the size of the Islamic State to be between 20,000 and 31,000 fighters, while on Wednesday, Warren again repeated the 30,000 estimate. To summarize the anti-Islamic State bombing calculus: 30,000 - 25,000 = 30,000.
Given there is no publicly articulated interest by Obama administration officials in revisiting this approach, let's review US counterterrorism bombing for 2015. Last year, the United States dropped an estimated total of 23,144 bombs in six countries. Of these, 22,110 were dropped in Iraq and Syria.
This estimate is based on the fact that the United States has conducted 77 percent of all airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, while there were 28,714 US-led coalition munitions dropped in 2015. This overall estimate is probably slightly low, because it also assumes one bomb dropped in each drone strike in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, which is not always the case.
World Rushes To Obama's Door For New
"Miracle Bombs" That Don't Kill Anyone
Sorcha Faal / What Does It Mean
(January 11, 2016) -- In what we can only surmise may be a "tongue-in-cheek" report issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) today, Russian diplomats are lauding Nobel Prize winning United States President Barack Obama for his development of what can only be described as a "miracle bomb" after the US State Department issued its year end report stating that these feared weapons of war were dropped by American aircraft 23,144 times in 2015 on the nations of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and not only failed to stop the terrorist gains in these Islamic nations, but amazingly only killed 6 innocent civilians!
According to this report, the Western world may, indeed, be rushing to President Obama's door to obtain for themselves these new "miracle bombs" that don't kill anyone to distinguish themselves too, like the Americans, in their war fighting prowess -- particularly against the barbaric Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) terrorists operating in the Levant War Zone that will allow these nations to claim that they are doing something when, in fact, they don't have to do anything at all.
Being left out and not being allowed to either use or purchase President Obama's "miracle bombs", this report continues, are Federation Aerospace Forces who are being be left with only "old fashioned bombs" to use in their fight against these barbaric terrorists -- and which in the past 10 days alone, 1,097 Islamic State terrorist targets in Syria have been struck thereby allowing Syrian Democratic Forces to continue their advance on the Islamic State's capitol, Raqqa, and has allowed these forces to gain control over al-Salhiya, Rdzheman-Alaia, el-Qria and Hadriyat-Ayn-Isa too.
As to what President Obama has done with America's "old fashioned bombs" now that he is now using their new "miracle" version, this report notes, is to give some of the worst of them to his Sunni Muslim ally Saudi Arabia that has begun using them against the Shiite Muslim civilian population of Yemen -- which, most unfortunately, United Nation Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this past Friday (8 January) called a grave war crime".
Equally as spectacular as President Obama's new "miracle bomb" is, this report continues, his power to continue using it has now become virtually unlimited as the top US Senator in America, Mitch McConnell, yesterday stated that the US Congress would not authorize any war against Islamic State terrorists thus leaving President Obama to bomb whomever and wherever he wants to.
Because the Federation is still using "old fashioned bombs" to strike these terrorists though, this report states, the Western nations behind President Obama's "miracle bomb" have, of course, begun attacking Russia for causing the starvation of children (it's ALWAYS the children) in Syria for using them -- which would be sad if it was true, but, and as explained today by the AntiWar.com website in their article titled Fake Images of Crisis in Syria's Madaya Making the Rounds, was proved to be a deliberate manufactured lie:
"A flurry of new stories surrounding mass starvation in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, once a popular resort destination, have included some shocking images of starving children, and reports of people surviving on grass and tree leaves.
Even the editors here at Antiwar.com were briefly taken in, posting a story from the normally dependable al-Jazeera, which used photographic "evidence" which turned out to be recycled photos from previous incidents.
Al-Jazeera's top image of a starving child in that story, for instance, is the same child from a YouTube video in Derna, Syria, way back in May, months before the Madaya siege even began.
His isn't the only image falsely attributed to the current crisis, with el-Akhbar identifying many of the other most high-profile pictures as having previous origins, one as far back as a 2009 picture of a refugee arriving in Europe, and a photo of a starving infant "in Madaya" dating from early 2014, and the infant shown is trapped in the ISIS-occupied Palestinian refugee camp or Yarmouk.
The shocking nature of the images makes for great press, and many are trying to parlay that into a chance to condemn the Syrian government, their Russian allies, and Hezbollah. While there are crises all over Syria and well-documented suffering that has produced millions of refugees, one would think there would not be a need to manufacture phony stories surrounding recycled pictures. For those looking to hype the crisis-du-jour, however, it seems that asking for real photos of the real situation is just too inconvenient, and it's easier to just re-brand the first starving child you see."
. . .
In order for President Obama to keep his "miracle bomb" secret from the American people too, this report points out, his mainstream media "presstitutes" have even begun showing film of Aerospace Forces airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists
"PBS NewsHour, a daily US television news program shown on the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), used footage of Russian airstrikes against ISIL targets, claiming that they were US airstrikes, an Information Clearing House article revealed.
"For the first time the US is attacking oil delivery trucks," the voice-over said between 2:30 -- 2:35, while showing a clip of exactly the same video published by the Russian Defense Ministry the day before."
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