U.S. Drone Strikes Have Gone Up 432% Since Trump Took Office


When he was in office, former President Barack Obama earned the ire of anti-war activists for his expansion of Bush’s drone wars. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning head of state ordered ten times more drone strikes than the previous president, and estimates late in Obama’s presidency showed 49 out of 50 victims were civilians. In 2015, it was reported that up to 90% of drone casualties were not the intended targets.

Current President Donald Trump campaigned on a less interventionist foreign policy, claiming to be opposed to nation-building and misguided invasions. But less than two months into his presidency, Trump has expanded the drone strikes that plagued Obama’s “peaceful” presidency.

According to an analysis from Micah Zenko, an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations, Trump has markedly increased U.S. drone strikes since taking office. Zenko, who reported earlier this year on the over 26,000 bombs Obama dropped in 2016, summarized the increase:

During President Obama’s two terms in office, he approved 542 such targeted strikes in 2,920 days—one every 5.4 days. From his inauguration through today, President Trump had approved at least 36 drone strikes or raids in 45 days—one every 1.25 days.

That’s an increase of 432 percent.

He highlights some of the attacks:

These include three drone strikes in Yemen on January 20, 21, and 22; the January 28 Navy SEAL raid in Yemen; one reported strike in Pakistan on March 1; more than thirty strikes in Yemen on March 2 and 3; and at least one more on March 6.

The Trump administration has provided little acknowledgment of the human toll these strikes are taking. As journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in the Intercept, the Trump administration hastily brushed off recent civilian casualties in favor of honoring the life of a single U.S. soldier who died during one of the Yemen raids just days after Trump took office:

The raid in Yemen that cost Owens his life also killed 30 other people, including ‘many civilians,’ at least nine of whom were children. None of them were mentioned by Trump in last night’s speech, let alone honored with applause and the presence of grieving relatives. That’s because they were Yemenis, not Americans; therefore, their deaths, and lives, must be ignored (the only exception was some fleeting media mention of the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, but only because she was a U.S. citizen and because of the irony that Obama killed her 16-year-old American brother with a drone strike).

Greenwald notes this is typical of not just Trump, but the American war machine in general:

We fixate on the Americans killed, learning their names and life stories and the plight of their spouses and parents, but steadfastly ignore the innocent people the U.S. government kills, whose numbers are always far greater.

Though some Trump supporters sang his praises as a peace candidate before he took office, the president’s militarism was apparent on many occasions. He openly advocated increasing the size and scope of the military, a promise he is now moving to keep. And as Zenko highlights, Trump was disingenuous with his rhetoric against interventionism:

He claimed to have opposed the 2003 Iraq War when he actually backed it, and to have opposed the 2011 Libya intervention when he actually strongly endorsed it, including with U.S. ground troops. Yet, Trump and his loyalists consistently implied that he would be less supportive of costly and bloody foreign wars, especially when compared to President Obama, and by extension, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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As Trump continues to dig his heels into decades-old policies he has criticized himself — reportedly mulling over sending ground troops into Syria — he is increasingly proving to be yet another establishment warmonger implementing policies that spawn the creation of more terrorists. As Zenko concludes:

We are now on our third post-9/11 administration pursuing many of the same policies that have failed to meaningfully reduce the number of jihadist extremist fighters, or their attractiveness among potential recruits or self-directed terrorists. The Global War on Terrorism remains broadly unquestioned within Washington, no matter who is in the White House.

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30 Comments on "U.S. Drone Strikes Have Gone Up 432% Since Trump Took Office"

  1. This bloody Orangutan has turned out to be a bigger lying POS than his predecessor.

  2. President Trump has inherited a complete disaster form the no-name potus. It will take time to unwind. Keep in mind…’we will eradicate radical Islam terror from the face of the earth…’

    • Which terror? ISIS? Alqaeda?
      They are all designed in USA and assembled in the target countries for the benefit of Israel.

    • antiparasites | March 11, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Reply

      only by stopping slaughtering the muslims and bombing their land and lootying their wealth will the USrael will be able to “eradicate terror” from the earth by default.

      but you continue to be willfully blinded by your racism (= stupidity).

      • desertspeaks | March 11, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Reply

        uh huh, are you willing to personally support and house ISIS members?? if not, what is Trump supposed to do with them? just let them take over the middle east?
        FYI Islam isn’t a race, it’s a cult and the adherents to this cult are called muslims.. talk about stupid! you’re funny!

  3. Those who thought Trump would bring an end to the Military Industrial complex or the Federal Reserve were deluded and fail to see who really controls this planet.

    • I truly am sorry to say that you may well be right.

      The United States cannot be governed.

      It resembles an engine which runs on its own, an engine whose political set of controls are toys.

      • How many millions of innocent people have been murdered by the American war machine since 9/11? Like Vietnam they are based on a lie. Does the American government care? Does the the average obese dumbed-down American care how much death and destruction their own country has caused? Meanwhile the same war-mongers (Satanic Zionist oligarchs) are working overtime to start WW3. Their ultimate goal is to destroy the planet while they sip Chardonnay in their underground bunkers. It’s too late for a revolution. They have the people right where they want them: In front of their televisions +/or smart phones!

        • I put up information well before the election that it Trump was part of the cabal, but people wanted and still want to believe in him. I stated this before and will do it again … as long as the cabal is in power it will be business as usual no matter who sit in the WH.

    • Sadly true.

    • buy the judge,key to cover up | March 12, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Reply

      The Pentagon budget is around $700 billion.
      The Pentagon’s
      own auditors found they cannot account for 25 percent of their daily
      expenditures.That means Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the
      Pentagon loses around $86 million tax dollars an hour. The Pentagon
      loses more of your tax dollar money before lunch each day than
      Americans will see in their entire life times
      That means
      the Pentagon loses enough of your tax dollars every day
      to deliver every American free health care..

      • If I was an American i’d be very pissed off about this. Though i’m Australian i’m still very pissed off that American taxes are used to bring death and destruction to so many innocent people around the globe. Thankfully my government is in cahoots with them which means we aren’t on their hit-list so long as Malcolm Turnbull maintains his lap-dog status.

  4. Elliott Dov-Ber Cheifetz | March 9, 2017 at 9:40 pm | Reply

    >That’s an increase of 432 percent.

    If you go directly to the raw statistics and compare Dec 2016 to Feb 2017 you’ll see that the amount of drone strikes is basically exactly the same. This author is using a cheap statistical trick to get clicks.

    • Stop Bush and Clinton | March 12, 2017 at 5:02 am | Reply

      True – and the statistics are from the CFR, so we have a good hint at the motivations behind the skewed article.

      But, that said, it is still not acceptable and we need to let Trump know that we want those drone strikes not at 432% (as in the article), not at 100% (as in reality), but at 0%.

      Trump won (in large parts) because We The People have had enough of Bush/Clinton/Obmama warmongering. He needs to be told that we don’t want him to expand it, we don’t want him to keep it, but we want him to DROP IT.

    • Would you care to explain this “cheap statistical trick” to us in layman’s terms?

      Not that you’re being dishonest, mind you, but we’d like to see a bit more substance to the claim.

      • Stop Bush and Clinton | March 14, 2017 at 7:46 am | Reply

        He’s comparing the entire year 2016 (which had calm periods) to the month of Trump.
        If you compare November or December (Obama) to January of February (Trump), you see neither a significant increase nor a significant decrease.

  5. No matter who take over the cockpit/whitehouse, US has been hijacked and continue to be slammed on other countries.

  6. antiparasites | March 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Reply

    don’t like terror? stop terrorizing others!

  7. Wile E Genius | March 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Reply

    We will continue to decline while our age old enemies will ascend. We don’t have the balls to do what must be done. Regardless, we don’t have the brains anyway.

  8. The CFR is not a reliable source folks. These are the people that want to exploit the third world and are angry that Trump’s rhetoric is causing them to lose leverage.

  9. I hope he is not just creating more hate towards America. Indiscriminate killing of civilians just compounds the whole problem. Creating a prolific recruiting atmosphere throughout the region. Drones just seem like such a cowardly approach.

  10. TimeToWakeUPAmerica | March 11, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Reply

    “Micah Zenko, an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations”

    You’d better scrutinize any information, that comes from a member of the CFR. It’s probably all lies.

    • Stop Bush and Clinton | March 12, 2017 at 5:08 am | Reply

      As with just about anything they say about Trump, there’s a true core and lots of lies around it.

      In this particular case, the lie is the 432% increase (brought about by creative use of numbers – essentially comparing today’s status with that of last year’s, before Obama’s last ramp-up of drone murders — comparing December (Obama) to February (Trump) shows nothing really changed (neither a huge plus nor a huge minus)).

      But the true core is Trump has done nothing to stop the warmongering policies of Clinton/Bush/Obama, and he should be told off for that.

  11. buy the judge,key to cover up | March 12, 2017 at 9:32 pm | Reply

    shadow party…..is .name soros gave to the public employee labor union rioters…….

  12. buy the judge,key to cover up | March 12, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Reply

    Jul 19, 2012 – Robert Wolf, a top executive at UBS bank and a major
    fund-raiser for President Obama, has left the Swiss bank to form his own
    drone business, …quickly landing no-bid pentagon contracts

  13. buy the judge,key to cover up | March 12, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Reply

    Jul 19, 2012 – Robert Wolf, a top executive at UBS bank and a major
    fund-raiser for President Obama, has left the Swiss bank to form his own
    drone business, …quickly landing no-bid pentagon contracts…

  14. repeating yourself… interesting.. that buttresses my initial observation about you, now doesn’t it..

  15. more fake news?

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