Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations recently calculated that Obama authorized 542 targeted drone strikes and special ops missions in 2,920 days — an average of once every 5.4 days. In his first 74 days in office, President Trump has given the go-ahead at least 75 times, or about once a day.

https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2017/04/03/Trump-Using-Deadly-Drone-Strikes-More-Obama-Ever-Did

26 thoughts on “Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations recently calculated that Obama authorized 542 targeted drone strikes…

  1. This made me immediately think of the Bernie Bro types who would say there was no difference between the parties on this stuff, or that maybe Trump would be even better about intervention.

    Fuck those assholes.

  2. How about fuck the assholes on both sides of the aisle that frivolously use drone strikes? It’s all great to sit and lament about Trump’s idiocy and poor leadership, but let’s not start pretending Hillary’s Democrats are “the good guys” because they used less drone strikes than President Cheeto.

    That’s part of what’s wrong with today’s political climate. Everyone is so worried about hating on the opposition that they turn a blind eye or straight-up forgive their team’s atrocities.

    It’s like saying “really wish we voted for syphilis instead of HIV…”

  3. Five times as much bombing is something to be concerned about. Yes, I also think that all the bombing we were doing under Obama is poisonous and is going to come back to bite us in the long term. But more bombing versus less matters. Especially because the more we do, the more likely it is we fuck something up.

  4. I don’t think Obama gets off the hook on this particular issue. If anything, he helped usher in the era of drone strike as a normal procedure. That the military is now pushing Trump for more is not at all surprising.

    Now, that said, more is bad, indeed. Can’t get around that.

  5. Drone strikes are just too easy. Think about the disaster Trump got into when he ordered troops in harm’s way early in his term. Now his advisors tell him he can kill the bad guys without even a chance of an American solider taking a bullet? That’s probably an easy sell for Trump.

  6. Robert Bohl, sure, but asking who started it seems like a small thing next to the guy who ramped it up and made it normal procedure. Now, it might be that whoever was in the White House would have done the same (i.e., right place, right time); however, Obama has to own it because he had the power to go another direction.

  7. Did Obama ramp it up and make it normal procedure? Wasn’t it already pretty firmly entrenched by the time he got there?

    In any case, I’m not excusing Obama’s choice, either. I’m just pointing out that once we had that power, we were going to use it until we couldn’t, because that’s the kind of shitbags we are when it comes to foreign policy.

  8. One thing I would keep in mind is “about once a day”. So, given that 45 has spent most his time either on the golf course or at Mar-a-Largo, that means he’s been approving drone strikes while sitting on the beach or between putts.

    To me, that feels a) disgusting and b) different from Obama hunkered down in the Oval Office conferring with generals (which is my mental image, which may not be true).

    How much do you want to bet some of those drone strike decisions were communicated using 45’s shitty, unsecured Samsung phone, too?

  9. feels a) disgusting and b) different from Obama hunkered down in the Oval Office conferring with generals (which is my mental image, which may not be true). How much do you want to bet some of those drone strike decisions were communicated using 45’s shitty, unsecured Samsung phone, too?]]>

  10. It’s a all a vicious circle really.

    Barring peaceful solutions, what’s the next best way to eliminate a threat? Kill the threat with zero collateral damage and zero friendly casualties, right?

    You will never get ZCD or ZFC with boots on the ground. Not ever.

    So drone strikes are better right? They can achieve at least ZFC.

    However, once you remove the cost of war the ease of pushing the button goes up, so one can well argue that the goal of ZCD gets worse…Or at least is perceived as worse due to it being increasingly lopsided.

    So what’s the solution to that? More precise munitions, sure. But ultimately, better intelligence. If you can identify exactly where the target is and kill exactly that target and only that target with ZCD and ZFC, that’s the Holy Grail win condition on the war on terror, right?

    But then you run smack dab into privacy issues and who will be the next target of that technology. So we (rightly so) try to shut the door (or at least slow its opening further) on intelligence ops. Which makes it impossible to get the data needed to more precisely identify targets…Which means…Enforcing privacy rights actually leads to increased collateral damage from drone strikes.

    Is it any surprise that the first thing the GOP managed to do successfully was begin tearing down privacy laws.

    We’re rapidly approaching the age of “kill anyone on the planet cleanly within 20 minutes of getting a facial recognition hit.”

    And that will change everything.