Obama Leaves Office With Record Of War & Expanding Militarism

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Above photo: This handout picture released on February 4, 2016 and taken on February 1 by the French Defense Audiovisual Communication and Production Unit (ECPAD) shows a Rafale fighter jet taxiing on an undisclosed base for a raid against ISIL as part of US-led forces. (AFP)

Note: President Obama presided over a rapid and dramatic expansion of US military operations around the world. US Special Ops are deployed in 135 of the 195 nations on earth. This is an 80% increase during the Obama years as commander-in-chief. Nick Turse reports that this expansion is expensive in personnel and funding:

“Special Operations Command’s funding, for example, has more than tripled from about $3 billion in 2001 to nearly $10 billion in 2014 “constant dollars,” according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  And this doesn’t include funding from the various service branches, which SOCOM estimates at around another $8 billion annually, or other undisclosed sums that the GAO was unable to track.  The average number of Special Operations forces deployed overseas has nearly tripled during these same years, while SOCOM more than doubled its personnel from about 33,000 in 2001 to nearly 70,000 now.”

The continent with the largest increase in these elite troops during the administration of the first African American president has been in Africa. The US is active in 20 African nations. Turse reports “In 2006, just 1% of commandos sent overseas were deployed in the U.S. Africa Command area of operations. In 2016, 17.26% of all U.S. Special Operations forces — Navy SEALs and Green Berets among them — deployed abroad were sent to Africa…” Obama who ran as a peace president at a time when opposition to the Iraq War was high, certainly does not have the record of a peace president.  KZ

The US Dropped More Than 26,000 Bombs on Muslim-Majority Countries in 2016

As President Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency, there will be ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which has focused on reducing U.S. ground combat troops (with the notable exception of the Afghanistan surge), supporting local security partners, and authorizing the expansive use of air power. Whether this strategy “works”—i.e. reduces the threat posed by extremists operating from those countries and improves overall security and governance on the ground—is highly contested. Yet, for better or worse, these are the central tenants of the Obama doctrine.

In President Obama’s last year in office, the United States dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries. This estimate is undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single “strike,” according to the Pentagon’s definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions. In 2016, the United States dropped 3,027 more bombs—and in one more country, Libya—than in 2015.

Most (24,287) were dropped in Iraq and Syria. This number is based on the percentage of total coalition airstrikes carried out in 2016 by the United States in Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the counter-Islamic State campaign. The Pentagon publishes a running count of bombs dropped by the United States and its partners, and we found data for 2016 using OIR public strike releases and this handy tool.* Using this data, we found that in 2016, the United States conducted about 79 percent (5,904) of the coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, which together total 7,473. Of the total 30,743 bombs that the coalition dropped, then, the United States dropped 24,287 (79 percent of 30,743).

To determine how many U.S. bombs were dropped on each Iraq and Syria, we looked at the percentage of total U.S. OIR airstrikes conducted in each country. They were nearly evenly split, with 49.8 percent (or 2,941 airstrikes) carried out in Iraq, and 50.2 percent (or 2,963 airstrikes) in Syria. Therefore, the number of bombs dropped were also nearly the same in the two countries (12,095 in Iraq; 12,192 in Syria). Last year, the United States conducted approximately 67 percent of airstrikes in Iraq in 2016, and 96 percent of those in Syria.

 1bbs

  • Dannow

    Just thinking about failing infrastructure and schools and all things related to support for 99%. Wondering what a bomb actually costs. We can’t afford Social Security anymore, why? Because soulless, self destructive, misguided powermongers have seized control. Resist now, while you still can.

  • DHFabian

    To understand America’s budget priorities and the agenda for pursuing this, one must understand that there is no 99%. Post-Reagan America is split into three distinct factions, rich vs. middle class vs. poor. The agenda since the 1980s has been one of mass upward wealth redistribution, from the bottom to the top. US corporations are now international entities, and by this point, it appears that the ultimate goal has been to transition the US itself into just another third world labor country that discards those who aren’t of current use to employers.

    As for Social Security, one has to look at the broader picture to understand what has been happening. What came to be called AFDC — welfare — was actually first included in FDR’s Social Security Act, later separated to focus on the specific needs of poor families with children. The campaign to “re-educate” the public about poverty and the poor began with Reagan in the 1980s.

    In the 1990s, the Clinton admin. ended actual welfare aid, and took the first steps to similarly end Social Security, redistributing those public dollars upward. Social Security isn’t just a retirement savings account. It provides retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits. The Clinton wing targeted the disabled. Because the public has remained indifferent to the consequences of this agenda, it became possible to incrementally dismantle Social Security itself.

  • Dannow

    So THAT explains it. Resist now while you still can.

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