Over the course of the past week, US warplanes have repeatedly targeted the town of Mayadeen, in the ISIS-held part of Syria. The casualties have been overwhelmingly civilian in nature, and many reports suggest those civilians were mostly relatives of ISIS fighters.
This would just be another round of US warplanes killing a hundred-plus civilians in their air war, except that during the presidential campaign, President Trump very publicly advocated adopting a US military strategy of deliberately killing civilian relatives of ISIS members, insisting that was the only way to deter ISIS.
Put these two facts together and you’ve got a recipe for a potentially explosive question: is President Trump implementing this policy within the Pentagon, and is that the reason the death toll among civilian family members of ISIS fighters has soared in recent days?
Officials have been unusually mum about the Mayadeen strikes, with only a single statement confirming they carried out the attacks, but insisting they were still not sure what casualties might’ve resulted from it. In having not admitted to the deaths yet, they likewise aren’t yet at the point where they have to address the question of why they killed them.
It was pointed out during the 2016 campaign, but bears repeating, particularly now, that a family member of a combatant is not themselves a combatant, and deliberately targeting civilians is necessarily a war-crime, irrespective of who they are related to.
When that was pointed out during the debate, President Trump attacked the Geneva Conventions, insisting “everyone believes in the Geneva Conventions until they start losing.” The administration has not, however, admitted this has become formal policy.
38 thoughts on “Is Trump Deliberately Having ISIS Relatives Killed?”
So, all the blood-guilt for this slaughter of the harmless, is it not on the heads of the voting majority that put Trump into office? Which most certainly is not my impoverished laboring-class, for not are we about to waste time voting for our next set of dictators.
no because Trump was the peace candidate . And campaigned on not getting into every war for regime change
Just choked reading the words “peace candidate”. Talk about hearing what you wanted to hear and ignoring the rest. If there was such a beast in that election, it was no more Trump than it was Clinton. You don’t advocate killing innocent people and torturing suspects,openly advocate first use of nuclear weapons, and still get to call yourself pro-peace.
Trump never advocated first use of nuclear weapons, only that he would not take it ‘off the table’ (believed in reference to North Korea), but personally opposed first use otherwise.
The NY Times has a story about Trump quotes on nukes; its fairly conventional. “Here’s What Donald Trump Has Said About Nuclear Weapons”, Melissa Chan Aug. 3, 2016. Obama did try to introduce a no first use policy but was overridden by his cabinet.
Most Trump supporters were more concerned about playing chicken with Russia, conventionally or with nukes. The pattern of escalation under Obama, were it to continue under Hilary, was thought to be sure disaster, and Trump was the only real contender.
Trump is not doing anything particularly new; even bombing civvies and relatives of opponents was done before under Obama. Its a disappointment, but at least a line was drawn against going too far with Russia baiting.
Advocating torture publicly is absolutely new in an American President to my knowledge, at least in living memory. And the way Trump talked about nuclear weapons varied from one instance to another (along with many other topics on which he contradicted himself). He was speaking aloud one day, asking basically, “we’ve got these things,why can’t we ever use ’em”? On torture, even Bush at least paid lip service to the notion that people shouldn’t do it (though obviously everyone around him told him what was going on just “wasn’t” by redifining it), and Obama said as much too (again, no idea what his private thoughts were). Trump refuses to concede that it doesn’t work, much less that it’s immoral and counterproductive. Science, like his principles, is something he picks and chooses like what tie he wears. As for Russia, don’t be so sure. The jury’s out over who wins his favour: his opinions change from day to day. As for what “most” Trump supporters wanted, you don’t have a clue (any more than I do), you’re just projecting your own wishes on to them. Poles showed that most Trump supporters also liked the Affordable Health Care Act, so they were a lot more measured and nuanced than many on the left gave them credit for, I’ll say that much. The truth is, there’s no more such thing as a representative Trump supporter than there is a truly representative social democrat or libertarian. We all overlap here and there.
A Trump supporter recognizes he’s no better than other Presidents of the past, and unlike past presidents, has no press cooperation to cover up his gaffes. Even Camille Paglia has come out against the anti-Trump movement, and she’d be no Trump supporter (voted Jill Stein).
However, Trumps not trending Kilary and the worse of what she stood for. Until a a better candidate comes along… why get rid of him? What’s the rush? Support for Trump is global; he even had followers in Russia and China.
Perhaps there’s a degree of projection but everyone hopes for something better. As a Trump supporter, I’d really be on the margins of the majority, not being particularly religious or right-wing; there’s really not much out there for highly secular left-of-centre libertarians.
Trump won by capturing a spectrum of Dem, Rep, Ind Indie sentiments, not by being perfect. Playing on projected hopes, is part of the persuasion game he plays. Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, did an extensive series of posts on his blog regarding Trump the ‘master persuader’.
I should add, previous Presidents DID torture and other war crimes. That Trump is straightforward about it was preferable than the lies.
Closest thing to a peace candidate, anyway.
No-one expected a pure peace candidate, just someone who would wrap up the wars and go home without starting new ones.
Empire builders, that is the American public and not because their fooled into war, but because they love to invade and plunder by war. See Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Israel, invading and plundering genocidal Israel.
“Peace candidate?” Nonsense. He was just against “regime change” schemes and “nation building.” Several times, he said war was OK if the US got something for it, ie “Take their oil.” He was also for torture and for this policy of killing the relatives of terrorists. All placed him in the category of evil, for which there is no lesser. Many of us could vote for neither him nor Hillary.
“All placed him in the category of evil,
for which there is no lesser.”
Actually, you and “Many of us could vote for,” surely you and your Empire building society are the root cause, which makes you the greatest of all evil.
Your Anglo-Saxon surname makes you one of us, fool. I’d wager there are far more US citizens on this antiwar.com site than there are citizens of whatever vassal state you’re from that supports all the same policies.
Go away troll. Back to your lair under the bridge.
I wanted Sanders to win. But it should be noted that so far, Trump has not started any new wars. If he keeps this up for another 3.5 years he’ll have been an unusually peaceful president.
Even if he continues the seven we have going now?
Iraq and Syria will be over before 2020. Libya and Somalia may continue another decade with no change. Pakistan and Afghanistan may get worse before they get better, if they get better. Yemen – I have no idea, that one worries me a lot.
I don’t blame Trump for any of these, and a reduction from 7 to 5 would really be good for the world.
Not if Syria “ends” with Assad out of power, ISIS in, the US invading and overthrowing it and installing a new regime as it did in Iraq. And I’d love to hear your reasoning why you think it will all be over by Christmas 2020 anyway. Nice crystal ball you have there.
The rate that the Syrian government are regaining territory will mean ISIS are defeated by Christmas 2017.
I give it a bit more time for Nusra and the other head choppers to be defeated.
The west will pull out when backing the Kurds no longer serves any purpose.
Turkey will stay on like they have in Cyprus, causing a headache whilst achieving nothing.
Just wondering what other employment is available for ISIS soldiers in Syria . Who is giving ISIS money to hire their soldiers Didn’t we arm the moderate rebels ? But if there are no moderate rebels wno did we arm ?
Via the Saudis, Turks and GCC arms were funneled to whomever would oppose Assad. Violent Jihad is an easy way to dispose of restless youth at home for many Muslim states.
However, the rich Saudis and Qataris do so much oily business with the U.S. it can be said they funded the terrorists. Israel and Turkey also buy smuggled oil from Syria and Iraq.
Jobs in the region would be whatever the locals were doing before including Saddam’s old oil smuggling networks. There are some changes like textile manufacture going to uniforms instead of civilian wear, and drug running would favour the cheap form of speed called ‘captagon’.
The DAESH are a twice-lost generation; they had few prospects in their home countries, then learned the vices of war and wouldn’t be able to do much else but tool about in a technical shooting things up.
If this is what’s actually happening, it seems like an excellent idea. Might get their attention.
OK, so when one of your relatives commits murder, you’ll be fine with us killing you as retribution? (No? I didn’t think so.)
What is the ISIS strategy now? It’s not about going after the military might of the west. It’s about provoking the west by going after the softest of soft targets.
So the goalposts have already been moved to the “killing relatives” standard in this conflict.
That said, I agree about not doing collective punishment or other war crimes. How you win is as important as whether you win, to get the peace as well as the victory.
Like a mass surrender to Assad?
isis have the west in a trap, if the west bomb them they will kill civilians and generate more support for isis in the muslim world, we’ve seen the wahhbiist form of islam gain traction the last 16 years of the terror war, but this problem exists and if we do nothing isis continue to gain influence in the region. There appears to be no easy answer to this problem, the pandoras box has been opened.
i’ve been saying for awhile now there’s only two choices, go big on attacking isis or get out altogether, no half measures, looks like the Trump admin has chosen the former.
War crimes are not necessary to defeat the Islamic State; its more like desperation at not winning.
The IS is not favouring the Coalition over the Assad government and is being reminded of what they were contrived to be.
This is not unlike the terror bombings of German cities which housed not only workers but families of German soldiers in WWII. Likewise, such bombings were not militarily necessary. Later American bombings of key infrastructure particularly in synthetic oil production shut down the Nazi war machine fairly quickly. It was just something to do waiting for the D-Day buildup to peak.
The IS has little key infrastructure clear of civvies the Russians have not removed. If this is an attempt to get the IS to surrender to the coalition and not the Syrians and Russians, its not likely to work; if anything, the response will be to resist the Coalition even more.
“only two choices”
Actually, there is a third choice, a war on poverty as all of the oil-rich dictatorships in the Middle-East keep Yemen and all of their working-class impoverished to promote terrorism, as it gives them a grand excuse to use grand violence.
Maydeen is a media network. Mayadin is the capital of the Mayadin district of eastern Syria. The forced analogy of comparing military airstrikes against ISIS-held cities with targeting terrorist families is politically motivated and forced. No wonder it’s origin is Washington Post. The fact is, Syria, Iran and Russia are not bemoaning these strikes at all. ISIS is a criminal enemy in Syria which must be destroyed. They cannot be allowed to hold on to metropolitan areas which they stole with slaughter and intimidation. Thusly, unless one of the three parties stated above decry an American military action, I’m disposed to concur it’s a legitimate target.
Problem is, terrorists are all of the impoverished lower-half of society,
and your greed driven upper-half owns all the land, wealth and political power.
Which means, that your cause is more criminal and evil, your wars on terrorists will only generate move vengeance, fuel more violence and your surely going to turn all our churches and schools into a bloody mess.
Your excessive wealth, is it really that important?
I suspect that in ISIS controlled areas, the terrorists are probably in the richer half.
“Problem is, terrorists are all of the impoverished lower-half of society”
In what universe?
Getting rid of the witnesses before we betray our mercenaries
In my opinion, this was a vengance for Manchester and not policy.
This is nothing new. Trump had Seal Team 6 slaughter an entire village in Yemen just because it was populated by Anwar Al-Awlaki’s in-laws, most of them women and children. This is how cowards fight.
While the moral point about killing of civilians is valid, it is not some historical or policy principle of the US or for that matter, any other modern nation.
During WWII all sides deliberately targeted civilian population in Germany and Japan and of course in Britain, Russia, the Philippines and China, just to mention a few.
British Air Marshal “Bomber” Harris overruled others to demand that allied bombing raids on civilian targets in Germany be emphasized, not avoided. Of course subsequent analysis proved that this idea only strengthened German home front morale and did nothing to harm the military effort.
Yes, generally since then, a lot of lip service is given to not deliberately targeting civilians. Of course the Taliban and ISIS routinely bomb civilian targets so it can hardly be said that this tactic is one sided.
War is hell and anything who thinks “rules” are going to make it less hellish is only fooling themselves.
I certainly hope it is coincidence
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