“We’re fighting a very politically correct war,” Trump said at the time. “And the other thing with the terrorists — you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families! They care about their lives, don’t kid yourselves. They say they don’t care about their lives. But you have to take out their families.”
After barely half a year in office, ongoing reports detailed how U.S. airstrikes were, indeed, wiping out entire families in Syria. While one would be hard-pressed to demonstrate that this was being done intentionally as part of Trump’s overall hawkish strategy to bomb the Middle East into oblivion, it certainly was the reality on the ground for many Syrian families.
Of course, part of this grim reality could be due to the fact that Donald Trump relaxed the Obama-era restrictions on calling in air strikes, meaning even Iraqi commanders on the ground could call in airstrikes with zero oversight. The Trump administration has had little regard for civilian life in the Middle East (except, of course, in instances where the Assad government in Syria is the one allegedly killing civilians).
Now, a new report from the Washington Post has confirmed that Trump has virtually no concern for civilian life in places like Syria, regardless of whether or not he actively wants the U.S. military to murder innocent families.
According to the Post, on Trump’s first visit to the CIA’s drone operations floor during his first full day in office, the agency showed him a feed from Syria where Obama-era restrictions limited the CIA to fly only surveillance flights as part of a push to return the CIA to its original core functions, leaving lethal counterterrorism operations to the military.
Trump, however, urged the CIA to start arming its drones in Syria, reportedly telling the agency: “[I]f you can do it in 10 days, get it done.”
Then, the Post explained:
“Later, when the agency’s head of drone operations explained that the CIA had developed special munitions to limit civilian casualties, the president seemed unimpressed. Watching a previously recorded strike in which the agency held off on firing until the target had wandered away from a house with his family inside, Mr Trump asked, ‘Why did you wait?’ one participant in the meeting recalled.”
To date, there is still no formal proof that the U.S. military was actually ordered to start murdering families, but again, whether or not murdering innocent families has been done intentionally or recklessly, this certainly has been the reality for many families in the Middle East (including places like Yemen, too).
In January of this year, Airwars reported:
“Non-combatant deaths from Coalition air and artillery strikes rose by more than 200 per cent compared to 2016, rising to between 3,923 and 6,102 civilians estimated killed during the year according to Airwars tallies. By another measure, roughly 65% of all civilian deaths from Coalition actions tracked by our team since 2014 occurred over the last 12 months. This unprecedented death toll coincided with the start of the Trump presidency, and suggested in part that policies aimed at protecting civilians had been scaled back under the new administration.” [emphasis added]
According to a special report published by the Associated Press, the real death toll of the U.S.-led fight to retake Mosul in Iraq alone was as high as 9,000 civilians. By the end of the war in the Syrian city of Raqqa, roughly 80 percent of the city had been destroyed.
As the Post has now confirmed, it is more than clear that these statistics are actually something for Mr. Trump to brag about, not to be ashamed of.
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