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|Mon, 08-25-2014 - 10:07am|
I’ve been thinking about President Obama’s foreign policy. I feel a major component of it is to fight terrorism while reducing the number of US offensive, ground, troops in combat (“boots on the ground”) with one exception. The one exception has been US troops in Afghanistan.
A graph of monthly US troop levels in Iraq up until June of 2011 can be found at this link (after reaching the first page click on the Iraq button). According to the graph, based on data from the Department of Defense, US troop level in Iraq peaked in October of 2007 at 166,300 and were at a level of 139,500 in January 2009, the month President Obama was sworn in as President. According to the graph troop levels were 46,000 in June 2011, the last month of the graph. All US offensive, combat, ground troops were pulled out of Iraq at the end of 2011.
As I wrote the exception has been in Afghanistan. According to this graph dated March 27 2014, and this one, US troop levels in Afghanistan peaked at 100,000 in 2010 and 2011 after increasing from 34,400 when President Obama was inaugurated, but then declined into 2014.
According to tables found here, US military fatalities in Iraq peaked at 904 in 2007 and those in Afghanistan peaked at 499 in 2010, total US military fatalities (Iraq plus Afghanistan) peaked at 1021 in 2007. There appears to be a direct connection between the number of troop levels in each country and the number of US military fatalities. According to the tables there were no US military fatalities in Iraq in 2013 and there were 127 such fatalities in Afghanistan in 2013. If the tables are correct there were fewer US military fatalities in Afghanistan in 2013 as compared to any year since 2007 and there were fewer total US military fatalities (Iraq plus Afghanistan) in 2013 as compared to any year since 2003.
Yet President Obama has continued to fight terrorism. According to data found here there has been 328 drone strikes in Pakistan under President Obama, which killed between 1465 and 2498 militants. According to a list of al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda-affiliated and Taliban group leaders killed in the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan between 2004 and 2014 (found here) 46 were killed while President Obama was president. According to data found here there have been between 672 and 892 militants killed by the 110 drone and air attacks in Yemen. All but one, which killed six militants were launched during President Obama’s time as president. According to a list of Yemen leaders killed between 2002 and 2013 (found here) 36 were killed while President Obama was president.
In addition Osama bin Laden was killed in May of 2011 and under President Obama aid was provided to the Libyan rebels in 2011. As a result of the Libyan revolution Moammar Gadhafi who I understand was responsible for many terrorist acts including the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland (see here) was deposed and killed. Also, as a result of President Obama’s threat to use air strikes against Syria, the Syrian government admitted that it had and then agreed to hand over its Sarin Gas. It is my understanding that some if not all of this weapon of mass destruction has been turned over and destroyed. Even if not all of the gas has been destroyed I feel the destruction of some of it would reduce the possibility of some of the gas falling into the hands of a terror group such as SISI. Also, it would reduce the amount of the gas that could be used by Syria against Israel thus making Israel more secure.