Every new president comes into office thinking he is the best person to run our country, but running our country also means being commander-in-chief of our armed forces. When you take a look at how each of them conducts our almost constant state of war, you find that each of them has his own ideas of how things should be done, and not only our own troops, but also the innocent civilians caught up in our wars suffer because of their limited ability to run things.
President George H. W. Bush started the first Gulf War. It was short.
The Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), codenamed Operation Desert Shield (2 August 1990 – 17 January 1991) for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991
Bush’s war with Iraq was short, and the number of our troops killed was small (for a war) at 149.
President William Jefferson Clinton had a different idea of how to fight a war, and he used military enforced sanctions against Iraq. While very few Americans died under the Clinton administration, the death toll he inflicted on Iraq was horrible.
When asked on US television (60 Minutes with Lesley Stahl) if she, US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children [from sanctions in Iraq] was a price worth paying, Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.”
President George W. Bush had his own way of fighting a war and started his war with Iraq with a devastating bombing campaign on the most populated city in the country, Bagdad.
A dossier released by Iraq Body Count, a project of the U.K. non-governmental non-violent and disarmament organization Oxford Research Group, attributed approximately 6,616 civilian deaths to the actions of U.S.-led forces during the "invasion phase", including the shock-and-awe bombing campaign on Baghdad.
The British paper “The Telegraph” reported Bush’s war this way:
The result was a nine-year conflict which will surely be seen by history as a landmark in the relative decline of the United States. One hundred and thirty nine American soldiers died during the initial invasion of Iraq. By the time the US finally withdrew at the end of 2011 the death toll was 4,485. The British and other coalition countries lost a further 218. More than 100,000 Iraqis had died and the war may have cost America as much as $3 trillion.
President Barack Hussein Obama had his own ideas about how America should fight wars. “The Los Angeles Times” wrote:
Before he took office in 2008, Barack Obama vowed to end America’s grueling conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his second term, he pledged to take the country off what he called a permanent war footing.
Obama went on to become the first President in American history to keep the United States at war every day he was in office for eight years. Edwin Mora writes:
Eight years later, U.S. military fatalities in the war have more than quadrupled from 558 under Bush to 2,247 under Obama, Pentagon data shows. There were 1,689 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan under Obama, a figure that makes up more than 75 percent of all American fatalities since the war started in October 2001. The number of U.S. military injuries has increased more than 7-fold, from 2,702 under Bush to 20,237 now, according to Pentagon figures.
Add to that the 1762 American troops killed in Iraq under Obama. Also, add to this the 15,019 troops who were wounded until September of 2012, at which time Obama stopped the American people from seeing any more totals on the number of troops wounded. On top of all of that Obama increased the countries we bombed from three to seven.
Then we come to President Donald John Trump.
President Donald Trump pledged on the campaign trail to “bomb the shit” out of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, and new figures reveal that he is doing just that. The United States-led coalition dropped more than 5,000 bombs on the group’s positions in August. This number surpassed the previous monthly high for the campaign known as Operation Inherent Resolve, which was 4,848 in June, and double the number the year before, when it was just 2,244.
We have only one year of data on Trump, so it is impossible to know what his full time in office will teach us about his way of waging war, but we can see that his method has already pushed ISIS out of Iraq.
Dec. 9, 2017
Some will say that Trump is bombing more than Obama or George W. ever did, but is that true? Yes, for a short period of time. With results, Trump did bomb more, but if you add up all of Bush’s and Obama’s individual bombings, they are way ahead of Trump. However, neither of them ever defeated anyone or ended any war.
So which President had the right method of fighting a war?
Clinton for sure had the least amount of American troops killed or wounded, but he killed 500,000 innocent children.
George H. W. Bush had the shortest war, but in truth his war never ended, and we still to this day have troops in Iraq.
His son, George W. Bush, started his war in Iraq with lies, but he never pushed on to victory. After him, Barack Obama just kept that war and the war Bush 2 started in Afghanistan going along with no end in sight. Both Bush and Obama used everything short of nuclear weapons, even torture, but neither ended anything they started.
So, are short wars better or are wars on the civilian population better? Whichever way you believe, the reality just might be that we are fighting wars merely to keep them going so the American war economy of the last 70+ years can keep a small segment of Americans super rich with a few million hourly workers making great wages in our defense industry.
We don’t know which is best, but we do know that we will keep fighting wars as long as we elect people who belive they know how to fight a war. What we need to do is elect a person who believes in peace, and we haven’t had one of those candidates in a long, long time.
BACK to the Politics Columns.