The United States government seems to have a track record of becoming increasingly and exponentially irresponsible, destructive, and corrupt with each new President. And intuitively, this makes sense. As each administration grants itself more power, the next administration is left with more room and leeway to abuse that power and to further expand it, resulting in a snowballing towards tyranny.
The CIA’s covert drone strike program is a perfect example of this. President Obama’s first year saw more drone strikes than in the entirety of President Bush’s tenure. As a whole, Obama authorized 10 times more drone strikes than Bush did, with 563 strikes under Obama and 57 under Bush. This massive expansion of the drone strike program is what led to Obama earning himself the nickname “The Drone King.”
With Trump promising to “bomb the hell out of ISIS” and to “take out their families”, it appears Trump is dethroning the former Drone Strike King Obama, and it isn’t even close. Under Obama, about 80 civilians were killed per month via drone strike. Under Trump, that figure is up to 360 civilians per month.
In the two years in which Obama ramped up drone strikes in the fight against ISIS, estimated civilian deaths ranged from 2,300 to 3,400. In the first nine months of President Trump’s term, the estimates of civilian deaths is up to 4,500.
To put the nature and effects of US foreign policy into further perspective, over the last 12 years terrorist attacks in Europe have killed 459 civilians. In 2017, from May 23rd to June 23rd, in one month alone, 472 civilians were killed by US airstrikes.
This is not to say that the terrorists are the good guys – far, far from it. Terrorism is pure evil and has no place in this world, but the US government’s foreign policy and War on Terror has not made us safer nor has it reduced terrorism in the world. On the contrary, it has likely made the world more unstable.
By the CIA’s own research and terminology, and as Ron Paul famously brought attention to, the US government’s foreign policy has created blowback and considerable amounts of it. The accidental killing of innocent civilians or “collateral damage”, which has happened en masse, results in moderate Muslims becoming radicalized, in increased hatred towards the United States, and in the creation of more terrorists.
As Trump has dethroned Obama as the Drone King, the only things that have really been accomplished have been the murder of several thousand innocent civilians, the unnecessary loss of many brave US soldiers, the destabilization and destruction of several countries, and increased levels of terrorism worldwide.