Above Photo: From PopularResistance.org.
President Obama says that if the GOP had their way they would force him to conduct wars in seven different countries. Is that true? And is that something only the GOP wants? How many wars is President Obama conducting?
This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
“Right now, if I was taking the advice of some of the members of Congress who holler all the time, we’d be in, like, seven wars right now,” Obama said. “I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been counting. We’d be in military actions in seven places around the world.”
That was Obama speaking to a small group of veterans and Gold Star mothers of slain U.S. military personnel, explaining how if it were up to Republicans the United States would be in military actions in seven places around the world.
So what places is he talking about?
When pressed by Yahoo News to explain the president’s remarks, a National Security Council spokesman listed Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The only problem is that Obama himself sent military forces in each one of these places.
In Syria, we have sent 300 U.S. Marines to Jordan to help recruit and train Sunni fighters—who we have called moderates—to fight Syrian President Bashar al Assad. And now to fight ISIS.
Right now, the United States has more than 3,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq—a number that was increased as recently as this past June by Obama.
In Afghanistan, Obama just announced that we would keep nearly 10,000 troops in place for the foreseeable future, even though he had repeatedly promised to end the Afghanistan war by 2014.
And its not just U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has resumed night raids, and we continue to use drones to bomb locations across Afghanistan.
“The mission will not change,” Obama said. “Our troops will focus on training Afghan forces and engage in counter terrorism operations…”
So what about these other locations mentioned by Obama?
Well, actually, we have been conducting war operations in all of those countries as well.
Libya maybe the least in recent years, but in 2011 under Obama’s direction the U.S. and NATO imposed a no-fly zone over the country and helped in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
And then there are the other three countries mentioned—Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen, where the United States is undoubtedly at war. But this is America’s drone war.
Take Pakistan. According to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, since 2004 there have been 421 drone strikes. The most recent was a month ago. 370 of those strikes were under Obama. The total number of people killed up to 3,989. Up to 965 of them were civilians, and 207 were children.
In Somalia, the numbers are much lower. But between the up to 30 drone strikes and covert operations, 65 to 250 people were killed, of which seven to 50 were civilians and two were children. Another 13 to 28 were injured.
And then there is Yemen, a country that has been in utter chaos since the drone war began there in 2002.
The number of confirmed drone strikes and operations in Yemen conducted by the U.S. is around 300. Approximately 1,580 people were killed, of which 527 were civilians and 46 were children.
So what you need to know is what maybe we all need to know. Has the United States found itself in such a perpetual state of war that we no longer consider using military force to carry out missions in other countries where civilians and even children are killedas war?
Our government uses a lot of fancy terms—military actions, counterterrorism operations—but at the end of the day, our troops, our bombs, in another country it is simply war; war that seems to have no end in sight.
And with both Republicans and Democratic politicians calling for a continuation of war in all seven of these locations, and maybe even expanding to more, have we come to believe that war is the natural order of things?
Because it most certainly is not.