April 7, 2018

Trump to CIA: Why Didn’t Drone Strike also Kill Target’s Family?

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a joint news conference with Amir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait, September 7, 2017. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The question came as civilian casualties have reached “unprecedented” heights during Trump’s presidency.

By Jake Johnson / 04.06.2018

President Donald Trump has shown little concern for civilian casualties overseas during his tenure as commander-in-chief, and according to a report published Thursday by the Washington Post, he actually wishes there were more of them.

Reacting to footage of a drone strike in Syria in which the CIA waited until the target was separated from his family before firing, Trump reportedly asked, “Why did you wait?”

While Trump’s question was immediately denounced as a display of “actual sociopathy,” it was perfectly in line with his campaign rhetoric insisting that the best way to combat terrorism is to “take out” the alleged perpetrators’ families.

“We’re fighting a very politically correct war,” Trump lamented during an interview on Fox News in December of 2015. “And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”

Acknowledging that Trump made the deliberate killing of civilians part of his campaign platform, The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald noted that actually carrying out such a policy “would clearly be a war crime, which is why even U.S. military and intelligence officials—hardly shy about war crimes—were mortified and said they would never follow such a demented order.”

As Common Dreams has reported, civilian casualties overseas increased dramatically during Trump’s first year in the White House.

In an analysis published in January, the watchdog group Airwars estimated that civilian deaths from bombs dropped by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria in 2017 rose 215 percent from than the previous year.

“This unprecedented death toll coincided with the start of the Trump presidency, and suggested in part that policies aimed at protecting civilians had been scaled back under the new administration,” Airwars concluded.

Originally published by Common Dreams under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.