Despite assurances from US Secretary of Defense General James Mattis that there have been “no changes to our continued extraordinary efforts to avoid innocent civilian casualties,” the number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria since Trump took office are almost as many as occurred during the entire Obama presidency.
The Independent reports that the military tracking organization Airwars released figures showing that since Trump took office, nearly 2,200 civilians have died in bombings conducted in those locations. That compares with 2,300 killed during airstrikes between 2014 and 2016. Coalition force figures are lower (they only admit to 603), but still show a rise in civilian deaths since Trump’s inauguration.
During the campaign, Donald Trump promised to “bomb the sh*t” out of ISIS. Since taking office, he has abdicated his responsibility as Commander-in-Chief and handed over war operations to the generals. Those would be the generals of whom he said he knew more than they do about ISIS.
Generals are men of war. That is what they train for. When left to their own devices – and they have been – it isn’t any surprise that the new war plan launched in February by General Mattis focuses on “annihilation efforts” and “shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight.”
There is a reason the Commander-in-Chief is a civilian. That is to temper the warlike tendencies of military officials. That is not to say we don’t need the generals, but we do need to acknowledge that, given the opportunity, their first choice is invariably a military one.
In the meantime, while we are clearing ISIS out of the aforementioned locations, the terrorist organization is cropping up in other areas around the world. The news of so many civilians deaths, combined with Trump’s travel ban and his continued vilification of Muslims plays right into their hands. The killing of innocents is a sure fire recruitment poster for people who are angry and confused.
While Britain, France, Australia and Belgium have participated in the bombings, the United States is the only country to take responsibility for civilian deaths.
Ann Werner is the author of thrillers and other things. Show her some love and check out her books!
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