Samuel Oakford, investigative reporter for the journalistic project Airwars, reports that the number of civilian casualties in U.S. airstrikes has been escalating since Donald Trump took office two months ago.
DONALD TRUMP: 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. They—they care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.
The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News.
The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones — “areas of active hostilities” in Pentagon parlance — which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible.
That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
“Some of the Obama administration rules were getting in the way of good strikes,” said one U.S. official briefed on the matter.
The Obama administration put in place a rule that no drone strike could take place outside a war zone unless there was a “near certainty” that no civilian would be harmed.
Another site of interest: