Even in Syria, the U.S. is playing a far less innocent role than it claims. While Obama has been equally berated and praised for not taking a more aggressive role in Syria early on, the U.S. has in recent months ratcheted up its airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria. According to USA Today:
In November, pilots in the U.S.-led coalition had dropped 3,227 bombs in Iraq and Syria, a record number for a single month and more than twice as many as they had used in November 2014. Since then, the totals for bombs dropped per month eclipsed the previous year. In March, pilots dropped 1,982 bombs compared with 1,685 in March 2015, an 18% increase.
Simultaneous to the intensification of the war, the U.S. has relaxed restrictions on civilian killings and so-called “collateral damage.” So far, the U.S. military has admitted to killing 20 civilians between last fall and this winter in both Iraq and Syria. But others have put the number as high as 1,000. A spokesman for the U.S. military, Col. Pat Ryder, said, “We deeply regret the unintentional loss of life and injuries resulting from those strikes and express our deepest sympathies to the victims’ families and those affected.” One of the main differences between the U.S. and the Assad regime on civilian deaths is that the U.S., when pressured, might sometimes apologize. (Incidentally, an Army captain has now filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for waging an undeclared, and therefore illegal, war against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.) Today, refugees from all the nations the U.S. has devastated—Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya—are streaming out of their countries by the millions, looking for a better life than what their devastated lands offer them. Even in these circumstances, the U.S. is playing a deadly role, joining with European allies in blocking the chance to leave for desperate refugees. Rather than change Facebook profile photos to red over just the violence of the Syrian regime in Aleppo, we might adopt the same symbol to encompass a much larger geographical area, stretching from Afghanistan to Libya, that is bathed in the blood of countless victims of wars at the hands of the U.S., Syria and others.
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