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Sunday, January 15, 2017

US drops an average of 3 bombs per hour across the globe

A report from the Council of Foreign relations shows that in 2016 the US dropped an average of 72 bombs every day or three every hour. The think tank, located in New York City, noted that 26,171 bombs were dropped on 6 different countries.

Even such a high number is probably low according to the report as a single strike can often involve multiple bombs or munitions. In Iraq and Syria where the US is helping drive Islamic State (IS) militants from both countries, 24,287 bombs were said to be dropped compared to 22,110 in 2015. The number of bombs dropped in Afghanistan also rose in 2016 to 1,337 in 2017 compared to just 947 in 2015.
When campaigning for president in 2008 Obama promised to end the Iraq war on day one. Yet the US has sent more and more trainers and advisers to Iraq and also to Syria while claiming there are no "boots on the ground". As of the end of September last year the US sent 600 more troops to Iraq bringing the total to around 5,000 troops, seven years after Obama had withdrawn all US troops from the country. Obama says his toughest decision as president was to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in 2009. While those troops are now withdrawn, there are still US troops in Afghanistan and Obama is planning to send 300 more to help the Afghans keep Helmand province out of the hands of the Taliban.
In the same year as he sent 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize:The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to United States President Barack Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".[1] The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the award on October 9, 2009, citing Obama's promotion of nuclear nonproliferation[2] and a "new climate" in international relations fostered by Obama, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world.[3][4]
We are now facing no action at all on nuclear proliferation and the new climate in international relations includes a renewed cold war with Russia. The US has retained good relations with countries such as Saudi Arabia whose human rights record is dismal. Bahrain can crack down on dissidents because it is a US ally and a US navy fleet is headquartered there. Two of the few positive developments during the Obama presidency were his opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the Iran nuclear deal, a huge achievement to be sure.
On the whole, Obama has turned out to be a hawk in foreign relations. However, his use of force is often less visble than under the last Bush administration. For example, he has expanded greatly the use of special operations around the world. In 2016, special forces were operating in a total of 138 countries, 70 percent of the countries in the world. This is an increase of 130 percent from the Bush administration.
A feature of Obama's rule has been the extension of the use of drones. Obama authorized more than ten times the number of drone strikes than George W. Bush. He also has classified all males of military age in regions attacked as legitimate targets. The extended powers that Obama has given himself will now be passed on to president-elect Donald Trump. While the US is part of a coalition in bombing Iraq and Syria, the US carried out approximately 67 percent of airstrikes in Iraq and 96 percent of those in Syria.


1 comment:

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