Donald Trump and his administration is on pace to kill far more civilians than his predecessor, Barack Obama. As of July 13, it is estimated that 2,200 civilians have been killed by U.S led coalitions in the “War on Terror” against ISIS in Iraq and Syria during the early months of the Trump presidency. The Obama administration is responsible for 2,300 civilian deaths since the campaign began in 2014. The numbers average out to 80 per month under Obama and now 360 under Trump. While this frustrates me under Trump, it equally frustrated me under Obama.
There have been several theories for the increase in the numbers. The most logical one is that the battle for Mosul and Raqqa, ISIS’s caliphate headquarters are in more urban areas and therefore a higher population. The Iraqi army was able to successfully liberate Mosul from ISIS control on July 9. While that was a big win in the fight against ISIS, it is a small consolation prize in the grand scheme of things.
I have a very pessimistic view on terrorism and the U.S. The War on Terror has become a fear tactic for voters to feel scared and make irrational decisions. It also lines the pockets of people and corporations that benefit from war. The odds of being in a terrorist attack are very slim, roughly 1 and 45,000 (in all forms and religions) and 1 in 140,000,000 from an illegal immigrant terrorist. Why do politicians and the media play it up so big? Simply, it gets ratings and obedience. Why don’t politicians hold the U.S responsible for killing more civilians in Syria and Iraq alone in the past three years than foreign terrorist have killed in the U.S in its history, including 9/11? It seems very hypocritical that the U.S can invade Iraq on false pretenses, kill 200,000 civilians and then we get all up and arms when a terrorist kills an American because they hate us.
The fight against ISIS may very well end one day, but the fight against terrorism in general won’t. Other organizations will come to fruition because the U.S wants the fight, they need the fight. People like to forget that the Reagan administration funded and trained the Mujahideen, a group of Afghani rebels in an attempt to stop the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Many of those rebels ended up becoming members of Al-Qaeda with Osama Bin Laden as the head of the snake. Al-Qaeda has lost much of its influence but now ISIS has gained it. In a technological world with the internet a few clicks away, online radicalizing has become prominent. It will be hard to defeat that threat. As long as the U.S intervenes in Middle Eastern affairs, there will be unrest. Obama should not have intervened in Syria but luckily he didn’t invade.
You may think it is our duty to somehow resolve the issues in the Middle East but I don’t think it is our place. Tension in the Middle East has existed for thousands of years, primarily due to different Islamic factions such as Sunni and Shia. History shows that anything we have done there has only made things worse. We are still in Afghanistan with no end in sight. I don’t think there is anything the United States can do to help alleviate a culture war to a region we share very little culture with. It will be ugly. There will be wars, there will be violence, but hopefully one day the Middle East will have an enlightenment period like Christianity underwent in the 18th century.
Until then, the American people need to wake up and realize how the endless meddling in the Middle East will lead to nothing but more terror and unrest. President Trump attacked a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical attack the Trump administration deemed was done by Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria. He claimed he had to break his campaign promise because he couldn’t handle the thought of children dying. If he is so concerned about children dying why aren’t we helping starving and disease ridden children in Africa? Is he upset that his airstrikes have killed children? I doubt it. War is a business. President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the possibilities of the military-industrial complex and we didn’t listen.