The U.S. Has waged one unrelenting air battle in the Middle eastern for 20 years. How negative is it? That"s a secret


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This snapshot taken on march 13, 2020 shows damaged armed forces vehicles in the aftermath of US armed forces air strikes in ~ a militarised region in the Jurf al-Sakhr area in Iraq"s Babylon district (south the the capital) regulated by Kataeb Hezbollah, a hardline faction that the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) pressures paramilitaries.(AFP via Getty Images)
On Feb. 25, President Biden bespeak U.S. Air pressures to drop seven 500-pound bombs ~ above Iraqi pressures in Syria, supposedly killing 22 people. The U.S. Airstrike has actually predictably failed come halt rocket strikes on deeply unpopular U.S. Bases in Iraq, i beg your pardon the Iraqi national Assembly passed a resolution come close over a year ago. 

The western media reported the U.S. Airstrike together an isolated and also exceptional incident, and also there has actually been significant blowback from the U.S. Public, Congress and also the civilization community, condemning the strikes together illegal and a attention escalation the yet an additional Middle east conflict. 

But unbeknownst to plenty of Americans, the U.S. Military and also its allies are engaged in bombing and also killing civilization in other countries on a everyday basis. The U.S. And its allies have actually dropped an ext than 326,000 bombs and missiles on human being in various other countries because 2001 (see table below), including more than 152,000 in Iraq and also Syria. 

That"s an average of 46 bombs and also missiles every day, work in day out, year in year out, for almost 20 years. In 2019, the last year for which we have relatively complete records, the average was 42 bombs and also missiles every day, consisting of 20 every day in Afghanistan alone.

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So, if those 7 500-pound bombs were the just bombs the U.S. And its allies to reduce on Feb. 25, that would have actually been an uncommonly quiet day for U.S. And also allied wait forces, and for your enemies and also victims ~ above the ground, contrasted to an typical day in 2019 or most of the past 20 years. 

On the other hand, if the unrelenting U.S. Air attack on countries throughout the greater Middle eastern finally started to diminish end the previous year, this bombing may have been an unexplained spike in violence. However which the these to be it, and how would certainly we know?

We don"t know, since our government doesn"t want us to. From January 2004 until February 2020, the U.S. Army kept monitor of how many bombs and missiles it dropped top top Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and published those numbers in regular, monthly Airpower Summaries, which to be readily obtainable to journalists and the public. However in march 2020, the Trump management abruptly quit publishing U.S. Airpower Summaries, and the Biden management has so far not published any kind of either. 

As with the human being casualties and mass destruction that these numerous thousands the airstrikes cause, the U.S. And international media only report top top a tiny portion of them. Without regular U.S. Airpower Summaries, comprehensive databases the airstrikes in other war zones and also serious mortality studies in the countries involved, the American public and also the people are left almost completely in the dark around the death and destruction our country"s leaders save wreaking in our name. The disappearance of Airpower Summaries has actually made it difficult to acquire a clear picture of the present scale of U.S. Airstrikes.

Here room up-to-date figures on U.S. And also allied airstrikes, native 2001 come the present, highlighting the secrecy in which they have abruptly to be shrouded because that the past year:

These numbers are based on U.S. Airpower recaps for Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria; the office of Investigative Journalism"s count of drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen; the Yemen Data Project"s counting of Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen; the brand-new America Foundation"s database of foreign airstrikes in Libya; and other released statistics. Numbers for 2021 are only through January.

There are several categories that airstrikes that are not contained in this table, definition that the true number of airstrikes are absolutely higher. These include:

"Counter-insurgency" and "counter-terrorism" work in various other parts the the world. The unified States formed a military coalition with 11 West African nations in 2005, and also now has a drone base in Niger, yet we have not uncovered a database of U.S. And also allied air strikes in that region, or in the Philippines, Latin America or elsewhere.

It was plainly no coincidence that Trump quit publishing Airpower Summaries right after the February 2020 U.S. Withdrawal commitment with the Taliban, reinforcing the false impression the the battle in Afghanistan to be over. In fact, U.S. Battle resumed after only an 11-day pause. 

As ours table shows, 2018 and 2019 to be back-to-back record years because that U.S. Airstrikes in Afghanistan. But how around 2020? there is no the main records, we don"t understand whether the withdrawal agreement led come a severe reduction in airstrikes or not.

President Biden has foolishly tried to usage airstrikes in Syria as "leverage" through Iran, instead of just rejoining the Iran nuclear covenant as that promised during the election campaign. Biden is likewise trailing along in Trump"s footsteps through shrouding U.S. Airstrikes in the secrecy the Trump provided to obscure his fail to "end the countless wars." 

It is entirely feasible that the extremely publicized Feb. 25 airstrikes, prefer Trump"s April 2017 missile strikes top top Syria, to be a diversion from much heavier, yet largely unreported, U.S. Bombing already under means elsewhere, in that instance the frightful destruction of Mosul, Iraq"s former second city.

The only means Biden have the right to reassure the American public the he is not using Trump"s wall surface of secrecy to proceed America"s terrible air wars, notably in Afghanistan, is to end this secrecy now, and also resume the publication of complete and accurate U.S. Airpower Summaries.

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Biden cannot regain the world"s respect for American leadership, or the American public"s support for our foreign policy, by piling more lies, secrets and also atrocities on optimal of those he has actually inherited. If he keeps trying to execute so, he could well find himself following in Trump"s footsteps in yet one more way: together the failed, one-term president of a destructive and also declining empire.

Medea Benjamin

Medea Benjamin, co-founder that CODEPINK because that Peace, is the author of "Inside Iran: The Real history and politics of the Islamic Republic that Iran" and "Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection."

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Nicolas J.S. Davies

Nicolas J.S. Davies is an live independence journalist, a researcher because that CODEPINK and the author of "Blood on our Hands: The American Invasion and also Destruction of Iraq."