Rss@dailykos.com (wagatwe) · Monday, July 17, 2017, 12:49 pm
Donald Trump has done a lot in very little time to mark himself as a different leader than his predecessor, President Barack Obama. One of those ways is how the US is handling its war on ISIS through airstrikes. The folks over at the Daily Beast did some digging into the number of civilian deaths happening now compared to under Obama—and the numbers are pretty bleak. As Daily Beast politics editor Sam Stein noted on Twitter, during Trump’s few months in office, the Trump administration has already killed nearly as many civilians as Obama’s did during his eight years.
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.
These civilian deaths are awful no matter the reason behind them. However, there’s one disturbing factor that could carry part of the blame: protections for civilians in war zones were lowered under Trump.
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.
The “pro-life” political party strikes again. Previous policy protections for civilians were clearly there for a reason. Now many more innocent lives are dying by the day, which devastates the lives of their loved ones during already trying times. Where’s the Republican outrage over these policies that stopped centering the protection of innocent human lives?