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Trump Has Pushed Ahead With Drone Strikes, Putting US Citizens in the Crosshairs
Published December 5, 2020
photo above: U.S. army drones stationed at the Ain al-Asad airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, on January 13, 2020.AYMAN HENNA / AFP via Getty Images
WN: This excerpt from the article highlighted is devastatingly the case, one that gives the lie to the strictly compartmentalized/schizophrenic “decency” of Biden:
Where does that leave Biden and where does he stand? Biden has largely been silent about drone strikes. Biden never publicly criticized Obama’s drone war legacy nor has Biden clarified his own stances on the policy of targeted killing. On his campaign site, Biden makes no mention of targeted killing and drone strikes. He does promise to “end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East,” but adds he will “narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS.” He does not spell out what “narrowly focus” actually looks like on his site.
However, during the campaign, Biden and one of his advisers admitted that he plans to keep special operations forces — who, along with drones, have carried about targeted killing operations in secretive overseas counterterrorism missions — in the Middle East and Afghanistan. If Biden plans to keep special operations forces on the ground, then it is very unlikely he will scale back drone strikes. This indicates that Biden will pick up where Bush, Obama and Trump left off — continuing a sophisticated program of global targeted killing under the guise of “fighting terrorism.” He will “end” the forever wars without truly ending them.
To participate in the federal government administration is to varying degrees by definition to participate in mass murder–from the first to the current Administration, and all in between. And Canada and the West? No less implicated through our Alliances such as NATO current and past.
President Donald Trump is (almost) out of office. Yet, there still needs to be reckoning with his record on drone strikes, assassination and militarism. As Trump plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, some may imagine Trump is a less militaristic president than his predecessors. But the reality is that Trump continued the perpetual war machine, especially the targeted killing program created by George W. Bush and greatly expanded by Barack Obama.
Within the first two years of his administration, Trump launched far more drone and lethal strikes than Obama. According to a Daily Beast analysis, Trump launched 238 drone strikes in 2017 and 2018. During Obama’s first two years in office, in 2009 and 2010, his administration launched 186 strikes. As of this writing, according to Airwars, Trump has launched 205 declared strikes in Yemen and 196 in Somalia. In fact, a recent Airwars report suggests that Trump may have ordered more attacks in Yemen than all previous U.S. presidents combined, with anywhere between 86 to 154 civilians killed.
As a result of these looser rules, the U.S. war machine under Trump has been dropping more bombs and killing more civilians. The Pentagon estimated that 499 civilians were killed in U.S. military operations in 2017, but that’s an undercount. Within the first six months of Trump’s presidency, the U.S. killed more civilians than Obama in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. According to an Airwars investigation, U.S.-led coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria killed around 2,200 civilians by July 2017, or 360 civilian deaths per month. In comparison, under Obama, from mid-2014 (when the U.S.-led war against ISIS began) to the end of 2016, coalition strikes killed at least 2,300, or 80 civilian deaths per month.
As Trump entered office, he relinquished constraints on the U.S. military and CIA to conduct air and drone strikes and raids around the world.
According to a United Nations report, U.S.-backed forces in Afghanistan killed more civilians in the first three months of 2019 than the Taliban and ISIS did. From January 2019 to March 2019, Afghan and a U.S.-led coalition of Western military forces killed 305 civilians, while anti-government elements — such as the Taliban, the Afghanistan branch of ISIS and other militants — killed 227. The previous year saw the largest number of civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan. In 2018, 3,804 civilian deaths occurred due to fighting between the Afghan government and U.S.-led coalition forces on one hand, and the Taliban and ISIS on the other, according to the UN. More civilians were killed in 2018 than in previous years of the war and, during this decade, over 32,000 civilians have been killed in the Afghanistan War.
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