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The Trump administration, which made promises to rein in Washington’s unnecessary wars, has not only expanded the US’ covert and lethal drone program, but has taken the covering up of its civilian death toll to a whole new level.
Axar.az reports citing RT news.
Like most of the battlefields opened more widely under the Obama administration, Donald Trump ramped up airstrikes against the infamous Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia approximately two years ago. And, like most drone wars expanded under Obama and dramatically widened under Trump, the details of this covert assault are continuously swept under the rug, particularly when it comes to civilian casualties.
The Pentagon has openly said that its airstrikes in Somalia have killed zero civilians.
The US military truly is an amazing, benevolent force for good in the world, isn’t it? It managed to ramp up its airstrikes in Somalia after the US president signed an executive order in March 2017 declaring southern Somalia an “area of active hostilities.” It conducted more airstrikes in Somalia than in Libya and Yemen combined. Just in the first few months of 2019 alone, it has already carried out 24 strikes on Somali territory, compared to only 14 in the whole of 2016, prior to Trump taking office. In 2018, US airstrikes killed 326 people. And yet, not a single civilian has died or been injured. Remarkable.
One such strike on the hamlet of Farah Waeys in Somalia allegedly killed members “or affiliates of Al-Shabaab,” according to AFRICOM. Those affiliates, however, were actually two civilian men, as well as five women and children who were injured. Another strike killed three local farmers in the early hours of a morning in November 2017, who were resting after working all night digging canals. AFRICOM even admitted it carried an airstrike in the region on that same morning.
If we thought that it was hard to monitor US-led covert wars in the Middle East and Africa before, it seems to have gotten even worse under Trump. Just recently, Trump allowed the CIA to keep secret how many civilians are killed in its airstrikes outside of war zones. As it transpires, a law passed by Congress making it compulsory for the Pentagon to publicly report civilians killed in its operations applies to the Pentagon only, and not the CIA drone program.
As far back as 2015, four former US Air Force servicemen wrote an open letter to Barack Obama warning about the effects of drone warfare, calling it a “recruitment tool” for groups like ISIS. They advanced the crazy notion that the killing of innocent civilians has acted as one of the most “devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”
At a press briefing in New York, the servicemen also revealed that drone operators would refer to children as “fun-size terrorists,” and justify their killing with the phrase that they were “cutting the grass before it grows too long.” Some drone operators even flew their missions while impaired by drug and alcohol abuse.
“We kill four and create 10 [militants],” one serviceman said.
Despite all this, you can always count on the corporate media to somehow put a rotation on the whole issue that amazingly shifts the blame to other parties. Take, for example, this gem, again, from the New York Times:
“A lack of transparency and accountability for civilian deaths helps enemies spin false narratives, makes it harder for allies to defend American actions and sets a bad example for other countries that are rapidly adding drones to their arsenals.”
“The Trump era has made clear just how vulnerable policy limits are and how dangerous it is when a president claims legal authority to kill in secret. In 2017, Trump lifted a key policy constraint limiting lethal strikes to ‘high-level militants’ who pose ‘a continuing and imminent threat to Americans.’ He also reportedly declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia were exempt from the meager remaining limits. The result? The United States is killing more low-level suspects, regardless of whether the government has reason to believe they pose a threat to the United States.”
The US is not even at war with Somalia, yet somehow there are at least 500 US troops stationed there, with a further 6,500 spread out over the African continent. The US has even hired private contractors to supply proxy forces in the country. Even the Guardian reported at the end of last year that the ramping up of US airstrikes were not really changing the situation on the ground in Somalia, as the terrorist group continued to strengthen its grip on the country.
As one farmer from the Darusalaam village, Somalia told Amnesty: “We did not expect the world to be silent.”
2019.04.05 / 14:37