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Boardman writes: "Now Donald Trump is a war criminal just like his predecessors. That didn't take long."

A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper stands on the runway. (photo: U.S. Air Force)
A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper stands on the runway. (photo: U.S. Air Force)

Trump’s First War Crimes: Assassinations by Drone

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

27 January 17


New president joins killers-in-chief Bush & Obama

ow Donald Trump is a war criminal just like his predecessors. That didn’t take long. Over the inaugural weekend, while the president was obsessing about the size of his crowd, his government also let loose two drone strikes against defenseless Yemen, reportedly killing an estimated 10 people, some of whom could possibly have been terrorists about to strike somewhere in Yemen. Three of these people were on a motorcycle hit by one drone, the other seven were in a vehicle hit by the other drone.

The United States is not formally at war with Yemen but strikes the country with drones whenever it feels like it. The U.S. also maintains a naval blockade of Yemen, contributing to near-famine in the region’s poorest country, which has never been able to produce enough food to feed its 25 million people. And since March 2015, the U.S. has supported and participated in the undeclared, illegal war of aggression launched by Saudi Arabia and its allies with U.S. blessings.

President Trump is not known to have a coherent policy on Yemen, whose war he inherits from the Obama administration. In answer to a question about providing “military aid to Saudi Arabia during its conflict with Yemen,” Trump answered: “No, we should stay out of conflicts that are not an immediate threat to our security.” Most mainstream media, who rarely bothered President Obama about Yemen, have not asked President Trump to clarify his apparent stand against participating in wars we’re already participating in.

President Trump has let it be known that he plans to sign an executive order to bar any immigrants from Yemen and other countries from coming to the U.S., because they’re Muslims and if we couldn’t bomb them there we’d have to bomb them here.

The ten drone victims in Yemen were part of a total death toll of about 75, according to The New York Times, based on “Yemeni news reports.” Most of the killing resulted from fighting on the ground in the southwest of the country near the Red Sea, where Saudi-allied forces supporting the deposed Yemeni president have launched an offensive against the forces of the Houthis, who toppled the Yemeni government more than two years ago. The Times report is silent on whether President Trump personally ordered the drone strikes that killed ten alleged “terrorists.”

The Washington Post reports more directly: “The first drone strikes under President Donald Trump were carried out in central Yemen over the weekend, the Pentagon said Monday [January 23].” According to the Post, U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, which started many years ago, have increased in the past two years:

The United States maintains a small ground presence of Special Operations forces in Yemen that coordinates with troops from the United Arab Emirates, who are fighting al Qaeda, while another U.S. detachment provides limited intelligence to Saudi-led forces that are focused on defeating the Houthis. Since 2014, more than 10,000 people have died and 40,000 have been wounded in the civil conflict, according to a recent statement by the United Nations.

The “civil conflict” so-called is in fact a civil war engulfed in an international invasion with perhaps a dozen nations participating in a fight that also includes both al-Qaeda and ISIS. Both terrorist groups control significant portions of Yemen, as do the Houthis and the Saudi-backed deposed government.

Based on Pentagon briefings, the Post reported only five fighters killed by drone strikes, with no mention of any others killed or not. This report said those killed were al-Qaeda fighters, not Houthis, as the Times reported. The Pentagon asserted that these drone strikes “did not require approval by recently appointed Defense Secretary James Mattis or Trump.” The Post did not say who approved the strikes, if anyone. President Obama was understood to have personally approved drone strikes designed to kill suspected terrorist leaders.

While the Post omits mention of the fighting that killed 65 or so in the southwest, it does report that “U.S. aircraft also carried out bombing missions in Iraq and Syria in recent days in support of local forces attacking Mosul and advancing on the Islamic State's self-declared capital of Raqqa.” The Post mentions no casualties.

According to The Guardian, the first drone strikes of the Trump administration killed only three al Qaeda operatives, with no mention of any other deaths, “security and tribal officials said.” The Guardian also reported that the Obama administration left office after a years-long drone killing spree:

U.S. intelligence officials said as many as 117 civilians had been killed in drone and other counter-terror attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere during Obama’s presidency. It was the second public assessment issued in response to mounting pressure for more information about lethal U.S. operations overseas.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism puts Obama’s killings at ten times the number of Bush administration drone assassinations. According to reports logged by the bureau, the Obama death toll was between 384 and 807 civilians at wedding parties, funerals, and more mundane activities.

The Obama exit may have been splashier than otherwise reported. According to Democracy Now, in a report that requires the reader to believe more than 100 terrorists were neatly segregated as precision targets:

The Pentagon says a U.S. airstrike and U.S. drone strikes in Idlib, Syria, killed more than 100 people Friday. U.S. officials say the victims of the airstrike were al-Qaeda fighters. But the Syrian opposition group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham says the airstrike hit its camp and that the victims were not al-Qaeda fighters. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is the new name for the group al-Nusra, which says it broke from al-Qaeda in 2016. The airstrike was one of the final military acts of Obama’s presidency.

While the numbers of the dead may be hard to verify, there is no dispute that three consecutive American presidents have sanctioned killing civilians with drones as the price they’re willing to pay to sometimes kill actual terrorists. In a rational time, it would be an undisputed war crime and an impeachable offense for a U.S. president to order the assassination of people, including Americans citizens, based on mere suspicion.

So now the question becomes – with President Trump now joining the circle of war-criminals-in-chief – why is there no article of impeachment before the House of Representatives? This is the third opportunity to impeach a murderous president for acts of official assassination that are patently unconstitutional. Maybe Rep. John Lewis of Georgia might take it on, as a response to Donald Trump’s recent tweet about him: “rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!”

Some people might ask: Why impeach Trump for what Bush and Obama got away with? Others might wonder: Why begin to worry about hypocrisy now? And still others might say: How come we’ve been waging war for two years on one of the world’s poorest countries?

[Note: a possible correction might be called for if the premise of this article turns out not to be true. If this is NOT President Trump’s first war crime, the author regrets the error and requests that the administration identify the president’s actual first war crime.]

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+25 # DongiC 2017-01-27 18:16
Death by drone with no chance for appeal. America has fallen upon dark days as it persistently seeks out Al Qaeda units to slaughter them with American fire power. I feel the Trumpster is going to be swept up in this deadly dynamic with results that are completely unforeseen.
+24 # 2017-01-27 18:29
War is not the Answer. FCNL.ORG
+1 # kalpal 2017-01-28 10:07
Its the only answer for people with lots of weapons and those who are oppressed who see no recourse to their oppression.
0 # John S. Browne 2017-02-03 14:16

Thank you. That bumper sticker is on my microwave oven [which I don't use anymore because of its unhealthfulness , except for its timer to time how long things like my pizza(s) are in the regular oven (because the latter oven doesn't have its own timer)].

For those not in the know, "FCNL" stands for "Friends (Quaker) Committee on National Legislation".

+29 # engelbach 2017-01-27 19:11
Obama worshippers don't want to hear about his war crimes against thousands of innocent civilians.

His supporters on the fake Left are just as much American chauvinists as their odious jingo counterparts on the Right.

They applauded Obama's personal qualities, unmindful of the many families who have had loved ones murdered by this master of charm and wit.

Bush and Trump lack Obama's charm, but all three belong in the same dock.
+35 # dheiser41 2017-01-27 19:32
We ALL ought to be ashamed and we ALL should begin working to protest against this senseless killing of people we cannot even see to know who they are.
+15 # John S. Browne 2017-01-28 00:49

...(A)nd the fact that the vast majority, in the thousands, who are murdered by drone, are innocent babies, children, women and men.

+6 # chrisconnolly 2017-01-28 13:05
Yes.I wonder how many pro-life hypocrites support this killing of in utero babies, and newly born. Oh that's right, they don't give a damn about the newly born.
+21 # oakes721 2017-01-27 20:13
A three tiered MURDERING SPREE does not establish it as a heralded tradition, a jolly good presidents' sport. Forbidding actual reporting of who was slaughtered, random numbers are given or denied and deleted.
Expect the ever agitated super egotist to try to prove himself against his ultimate enemy: We the People of the USA.
+4 # acomfort 2017-01-27 20:40
We should remember that the CIA also uses drones to bomb people and I doubt the CIA get permission from anyone to use them. So yes the US droned people again but it may not have been Trump's orders.
+18 # economagic 2017-01-27 21:16
"Silent Cal" Coolidge said, “the chief business of the American people is business” (often misquoted). Somewhere along the line the chief business of America became war (c. 1970?). Now the chief business of America is merely war crimes.

"Why begin to worry about hypocrisy now?"

"Hypocrisy Now!" What a great name for Amy Goodman's next show!
-15 # skylinefirepest 2017-01-27 21:16
So Boardman...let' s see if I understand's okay in the waging of war that we can use rockets, mortar tubes, artillery indirect fire, etc. but we shouldn't use drones. I would wager that you have never served in our military.
+17 # EternalTruth 2017-01-27 22:14
Nothing in this article hints or implies that these murders would be acceptable if they had been committed with different weapons.
+12 # ericlipps 2017-01-28 10:06
Quoting skylinefirepest:
So Boardman...let's see if I understand's okay in the waging of war that we can use rockets, mortar tubes, artillery indirect fire, etc. but we shouldn't use drones. I would wager that you have never served in our military.

The United States is not formally at war with Yemen but strikes the country with drones whenever it feels like it. The U.S. also maintains a naval blockade of Yemen, contributing to near-famine in the region’s poorest country, which has never been able to produce enough food to feed its 25 million people. And since March 2015, the U.S. has supported and participated in the undeclared, illegal war of aggression launched by Saudi Arabia and its allies with U.S. blessings.
Apparently it doesn't occur to you that attacking civilians in a country with which we are not at war is a crime under international law (an "act of aggression") and is therefore technically also an act of war, whatever weapons might be used.
+4 # maindrains 2017-01-28 13:23
You obviously dont get the message; its not about HOW were killing but WHO and who authorised it.
+6 # John S. Browne 2017-01-28 00:45

So VERY right-on! "Trumpet's" support for the presumption of guilt without true due process of law in assassinations by drone, makes him a war criminal and mass-murderer, like "OdronaCON" and "BushCON" were. As I've said before, the madness just gets worse and worse. If "Trumpet" wasn't a fraud like his predecessors, he would repudiate all connection(s) with such mass-murder and war crimes, and would put a complete stop to it. But, no, he supports the madness, thus proving him to be insane, sociopathic and psychopathic, also like many U.S. presidents before him.

I've said over and over again that things would only get worse and worse, and sure enough they are. So, those who consider me to be a cynic and pessimistic should think again. Naturally, I don't want to be right, AT ALL, about things getting worse and worse; but, when one faces as I do that it is proven to be true again and again and again, and never stops being proven true, thus far anyway (and won't change with the next "Democratic" president either, especially if it is someone like "'Hitlery' Clinton", another supporter of the drone assassination program, etc.), it is unavoidable (without deep avoidance and denial of the truth---truth being the ONLY thing that sets us free) that things are indeed doing just that, getting worse and worse.

And things aren't simply getting worse and worse, they are getting worse and worse on steroids, as is obvious to all those who face just how bad things are getting.

+9 # backwards_cinderella 2017-01-28 03:49
he has no coherent policy on anything.
+4 # intheEPZ 2017-01-28 09:15
"You have to stop confusing a madness with a mission."
Flannery O'Connor
+2 # Skyelav 2017-01-28 10:14
Problem is those who are sucking off the war tit (as my son calls it) have convinced the deplorables that the Middle East is rife with American killers and we need to fight them "over there not here." Of course, the winter are those people I mentioned above. Everyone in DC works for the same bosses apparently.
+10 # reiverpacific 2017-01-28 11:28
Just another, if slightly blurred from ignorance of the world- example of the US being the world's biggest military bully, with the lowest social safety net for its citizens.
+2 # acomfort 2017-01-28 14:06
"his government also let loose two drone strikes against defenseless Yemen,"
Who besides the president can order drone strikes?

The US Air-Force bombs without the consent of the president and the CIA has it's own drone force and does strikes on their own.
These Yemen drone strikes may not or may not have been under Trump's orders. If not . . . will he or can he do anything about it?

The CIA and the military have their own agendas . . . it wasn't supposed to be that way.
-3 # Caliban 2017-01-29 01:27
US Presidents are Commanders-in-C hief because all military units report to them through the appropriate cabinet officers. This includes the CIA.

Presidents do not usually give direct orders, but they are at the top of the chain of command. There was a widely viewed photograph of President Obama and cabinet members watching military satellite transmissions in real time of the elimination of bin Laden.

The president could have cancelled that operation at any time before the US troops broke into bin Laden's compound. Properly, in my opinion, he did not pull back and bin Laden finally received some justice for 9/11.
+1 # John S. Browne 2017-01-30 01:08

It figures that you and so many "Amerikans" believe that false propaganda. Osama bin Laden died from complications due to kidney failure in December of 2001, so the guy the government claimed they killed, who was never proven to us to be bin Laden in the first place, or after his assassination, was not him, but some semi-look-alike or someone who looked similar, if that. You can choose, as you and most brainwashed "Amerikans" do, to blindly believe the lying U.S. government and its propaganda arm, the MSM, but it just shows your and their willful idiocy and ignorance.

The assassination of the so-called "bin Laden" was nothing but theater to garner support for "Odrona" and the war OF terror, etc. Osama was an "al CIAduh(!)" asset right up to the time of his real death. He was witnessed meeting with his CIA handler in an "Amerikan"/"al CIAduh(!)" hospital in Germany just two or three months before 9-11, where he was receiving treatment for his kidney failure and to extend his life even though he was dying. That was after Bill Clinton, on the way out of office, put bin Laden on the terrorist most-wanted list and put out an international warrant for his arrest; yet, Osama was allowed to leave that hospital and head back to Afghanistan or wherever, without being taken into custody; which, obviously, he easily could and would have been if he wasn't an "al CIAduh(!)" asset that the U.S. and international deep state shadow government didn't want to capture.

Wake up!

0 # Caliban 2017-02-09 14:26
"Wake up!" yourself, and lay off the fantasies. The MSM has the truth much more accurately that what ever nuts you are reading,
# John S. Browne.
+5 # Underledge 2017-01-28 14:21
Don't forget all the companies who manufacture drones and of course all the stockholders who prosper from them. There is a lot of blame to go around!
+6 # Ken Carman 2017-01-28 18:09
One must remember: this is not "new." it's just an extension of the old using new tech. In Nam we mass bombed areas, took out weddings and all kinds of things on the "intel" that the Cong may be there. Massive use of napalm, or course, had even more impact than a drone strike.

I post this only to point out we're simply just doing what we have been doing for a long time and just creating more terrorists, more hate, more resistance.
0 # elkingo 2017-01-28 19:14
Boardman is rejecting the entire wholesale homicide culture, and extreme right wing Republicans and leftist Democrats are no longer even a cosmetic difference. And he's right. The answer of course is world democratic socialism. But... Isis is Nazi Germany redux, and we gotta whack them. But no innocents please. We don't get to be God deciding who shall die randomly and anonymously.
-2 # WBoardman 2017-01-31 18:08
elkingo is right to abhor ISIS.

But to compare ISIS to Nazi Germany
is seriously fact-challenged –
worse, it's hysterical and does the terrorists' work for them
by terrifying us with over-the-top fear-mongering.

In reverse hyperbole, perhaps,
all of ISIS is hardly as dangerous or threatening
as one Panzer division.

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