Okay, the thing you have to keep in mind about this story is that both parties are just as bad and because of that it doesn’t really matter who you vote for. When the problem in American politics is that everything has moved too far to the right, voting to stabilize that disturbing trend or move it even further to the right by voting Republican (or not voting against Republicans) makes zero difference. None at all. Oh wait. From the Daily Beast:
“By most accounts, the Obama administration became increasingly focused on reducing civilian casualties from U.S. actions—both on and off the conventional battlefield. In July 2016, Obama issued a new executive order, one which Lewis helped draft, that codified procedures for limiting civilian casualties in war, and put in place interagency reviews and annual reporting. (A former State Department official confirmed that interagency consultations on civilian casualty trends are no longer taking place under the Trump administration.)
Early in the campaign against ISIS, tolerance for civilian casualties outside of dynamic attacks was minimal, said Col. Scott “Dutch” Murray, who served as the director of Intelligence for Air Forces Central Command. Murray led all deliberate targeting against ISIS in Iraq and Syria until 2015.
“The default answer was zero civilian casualties for all deliberate strikes,” he said.
Civilian casualties nevertheless grew as the campaign wore on under Obama.The U.S.-led Coalition continued to drop thousands of bombs targeting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, killing more than 2,300 civilians in airstrikes under Obama according to Airwars estimates. Still, there was a sense among some in the military that they had been shackled, and were being prevented from pursuing ISIS with heavier firepower.
“I was one of those people—some days it was like if I see another article about ISIS folks going around the Corniche in Raqqa and the U.S. does nothing, I’m going to lose my sh*t,” said a former senior counterterrorism official who served in the region under the second Bush administration and Obama. “I think Trump wanted to give the military what they wanted, and I think the military got it.”
Deaths Up 400%
As conflicts intensify, it can be difficult to assign culpability for all strikes—especially in Mosul, where deaths are blamed variously on the Coalition, Iraqi forces, or ISIS.
But in March alone, Airwars could still estimate that the number of civilian deaths likely tied to the Coalition in both Iraq and Syria rose by more than 400 percent. The month after Mattis delivered the new plan, U.S.-led forces likely killed more civilians than in the first 12 months of Coalition strikes—combined.
The deadliest incident so far admitted by the Coalition in either country took place on March 17 in the al Jadida neighborhood of Mosul. According to U.S. investigators, at least 105 civilians were killed when an American jet dropped a 500-pound bomb on a building where they sheltered. The U.S. said its forces aimed for two ISIS fighters on the roof, but the entire building gave way—a clear sign, claimed investigators, that the building had been rigged with explosives by ISIS. Survivors and Mosul civil defence officials denied the U.S. narrative, insisting they had seen no evidence of ISIS explosives.
The scenario itself—a small number of gunmen darting in and out of view before drawing heavy fire from Coalition forces—was one which Airwars had repeatedly highlighted as leading to civilian deaths. In one profiled case from December, 11 members of a family were killed when the Coalition bombed a house—reportedly after a single ISIS fighter had been seen on a roof two houses down. The toll in al Jadida represents a significant portion of the 603 casualties publicly conceded by the Coalition. That tally has grown considerably in recent months, but is still many times lower than Airwars’ own estimates of at least 4,500 civilians likely killed.”
I love this part:
“In one of his first moves as president, Trump ordered a new counter-ISIS plan be drawn up. Second on his list of requests were recommended “changes to any United States rules of engagement and other United States policy restrictions that exceed the requirements of international law regarding the use of force against ISIS.”
In short, Trump was demanding that the Pentagon take a fresh look at protections for civilians on the battlefield except those specifically required by international law. That represented a major shift from decades of U.S. military doctrine, which has generally made central the protection of civilians in war”
“Airwars researchers estimate that at least 2,300 civilians likely died from Coalition strikes overseen by the Obama White House—roughly 80 each month in Iraq and Syria. As of July 13, more than 2,200 additional civilians appear to have been killed by Coalition raids since Trump was inaugurated—upwards of 360 per month, or 12 or more civilians killed for every single day of his administration.
The Coalition’s own confirmed casualty numbers—while much lower than other estimates—also show the same trend. Forty percent of the 603 civilians so far admitted killed by the alliance died in just the first four months of Trump’s presidency, the Coalition’s own data show.”
You happen to see the Trump administration’s latest proposed budget? They now want 618 billion dollars in increased military spending…for some reason. And they want to take money from poor people to make this happen, while cutting taxes drastically for the super rich (and for huge corporations). Look, I hate the Democrats but to make the argument that both parties are just as bad, you have to do this in a theoretical world where the Bush administration never happened, and the Tea Party never happened, and policies that affect millions of people aren’t a thing. That’s a weird theoretical scenario to make an argument in but fuck, up is now down, left is now right, and 2+2=9. Ultimately, I think people who make this argument are overly optimistic. You looked into the black heart of the Democrat’s crass capitalism and said: nothing could be worse than that. Wrong answer.
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