By BENJIE OLIVEROS
One thing truthful about US Pres. Donald Trump is that he does what he says. There has been no divide between his rhetoric and actions. His anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric was concretized in his executive orders such as the authorization of the US-Mexico border wall, and the controversial ban on the issuance of visas to prospective tourists and immigrants from seven Muslim countries and the detention of those entering the US from the same countries, even if they had valid visas. Trump also threatened a lot of countries with war and he has been making good his threats.
From March 2 to 4, 2017, the US carried out more than 30 airstrikes and drone attacks in Yemen purportedly against Al Qaeda forces. A month after, April 6, the US Armed Forces launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military airfield.
A week later, April 14, the US dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) in Afghanistan purportedly against fortified underground tunnels being used by the ISIS.
The GBU-43/B, a 21,600-pound bomb dubbed as the mother of all bombs, was the largest bomb ever dropped by the US Armed Forces in combat after World War II.
While Al Qaeda was the declared target by the US, it was actually part of the campaign of the US and Saudi Arabia to push back Houthi rebels and reinstate the US-backed government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The missile attack on a Syrian airfield was purportedly in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapon attack by the Syrian military on rebel held area and Trump claimed that it changed his views about Syrian President Bashar Assad. However, his predecessor Barack Obama had made Syria a battleground in its proxy war against Russia, which support Assad. US military involvement in Afghanistan dated back to 2001, when it invaded the country to topple the Taliban regime, allegedly because of its links with Al Qaeda, which was never proven. After 16 years of continuous US military operations in Afghanistan, it still found the need to drop the MOAB, this time against the ISIS.
Added to these, the Trump administration already approved the deployment of Marines and special operations forces to Syria. It also approved a large-scale commando operation in Yemen. A top US Armed Forces commander has also suggested a further increase in the deployment of US troops in Afghanistan. In 2016, there were 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan, which Obama planned to reduce to 5,500 by the end of his term.
Trump ordered the deployment of US ships toward the Korean peninsula. He has also, since his presidential campaign, called for the bombing of Iran.
However, Trump is merely intensifying the wars that the US was involved in under his predecessor Obama. The Obama administration dropped 12,000 bombs on Syria in 2016 alone. Obama ordered the most number of drone attacks so far, most especially in Yemen and Pakistan. An analysis by human rights group Reprieve of civilian casualties of drone strikes revealed that attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of 1,147 people. It would also be remembered that in 2009, Obama ordered the deployment of 17,000 more troops to bolster the 36,000 US troops, maintained by the Bush administration, in Afghanistan. Obama ordered the deployment of 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, before starting the drawdown in 2011.
Trump is merely continuing the wars of aggression, which has been part of the continuing policy of the US government. Obama was just more secretive, nay deceptive about it. But the danger with the Trump administration is that he doesn’t care about the political backlash of his policy declarations and actions. And the dropping of the MOAB is just a small step away from a nuclear strike.