Trump is still a warmongering monster
I've given President Trump a lot of credit lately for his decision to pull out of Syria, and I don't regret doing so.
But let's not forget the Drone War that Bush started, Obama made worse, and Trump has pumped up to record levels of carnage.
During the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency, the US has carried out far more drone strikes in the undeclared battlefields of Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan than his predecessor, Barack Obama, during the same period of his first term. One reason for this is relaxed restrictions introduced late in Obama’s tenure.
When Obama took office in January 2009, he began a dramatic increase in drone warfare compared to George W Bush, his immediate predecessor. Bush carried out 57 attacks in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia between 2001 and 2009 using unmanned aerial vehicles — drones — but by the time Obama left the White House in 2017, he'd launched almost 10 times that many strikes: 563, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Trump's first year saw an escalation of strikes in those countries, too. In 2016, Obama launched 36 drone strikes in Yemen, three in Pakistan and 14 in Somalia. But in 2017, Trump sent drones out on kill missions 130 times in Yemen, five times in Pakistan and 35 times in Somalia.
A big part of the reason for so many more drone strikes is that Trump removed the rules that sometimes protected civilians from being killed.
With that rules change came predictable results.
Let's look at Yemen, since they are the primary recipient of our high explosives.
For many years, we at the Mwatana Organization for Human Rights documented the impact of U.S. drone strikes in Yemen through detailed field research. In 2017 we investigated eight drone strikes and ground operations and found that U.S. operations were responsible for the deaths of at least 32 civilians – including 16 children and six women – and injured ten others, including five children.
That's from just eight of the 130 drone strikes, and from those eight drone strikes we get 16 dead children. Or two dead children for every drone strike, which is the sort of math used by people going to Hell.
AP did a larger study and found damning evidence that at least "a third of all those killed in drone strikes so far in 2018...did not belong to al-Qaida."
While Yemen occasionally gets on the radar of Americans, for some reason Somalia never does, despite there being over 500 American troops currently stationed there.
With those troops came drone strikes.
Since taking office, the Trump Administration has dramatically increased lethal strikes in Somalia. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has carried out more than 30 strikes in each of 2017 and 2018, more than twice the previous highest total during the Obama presidency.
Take, for example, two well-documented attacks in August 2017 and May 2018. Local farmers accused Somali Special Forces, who were accompanied by U.S. forces, of killing innocent civilians. In the past year alone, reports of alleged civilian harm were accompanied by claims of damage to homes, agricultural infrastructure, and livestock.
So how effective are these drone strikes?
Well, the simple fact that we continue to increase the number of drone strikes in these countries year after year is evidence that this isn't working. At a certain point we will run into a limit of how much destruction we can rain down on these defenseless nations.
Fortunately, there was a long-term study on drone strikes v. terrorist attacks recently completed.
Drone strikes have a bigger impact on Taliban and Al Qaeda violence in Pakistan than in Afghanistan, researchers have found when looking at data from 2007 to 2011.
An attack by the Taliban in Pakistan is 9% more likely to occur 5 days after a drone strike and 7.4% more likely to occur 6 days after a drone strike.
“We also find that Taliban violence in Pakistan is negatively associated with Taliban violence in Afghanistan,” they said, “[as] 0.02 fewer terrorist attacks occur 16 days after one terrorist attack in Afghanistan.”
Put another way, terrorists in Pakistan are significantly MORE likely to attack because of a drone strike, while it has virtually no effect on terrorists in Afghanistan.
So if your objective is to cause more terrorist attacks, then our current methods are effective.
While the Global Drone War is an obvious case of a criminal war against civilians under Trump, it isn't the only example.
Amnesty International says US-led coalition committed war crimes when it destroyed Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria.
If only there was a way to make Americans care about who we are killing in their name.