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Benny

Hey, Hey, USA! How Many Bombs Did You Drop Today?

he Pentagon has finally published its first Airpower Summary since President Biden took office nearly a year ago. These monthly reports have been published since 2007 to document the number of bombs and missiles dropped by U.S.-led air forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since 2004. But President Trump stopped publishing them after February 2020, shrouding continued U.S. bombing in secrecy.

“The failure of the U.S. government, politicians and corporate media to honestly inform and educate the American public about the systematic mass destruction wreaked by our country’s armed forces has allowed this carnage to continue largely unremarked and unchecked for 20 years.”
Over the past 20 years, as documented in the table below, U.S. and allied air forces have dropped over 337,000 bombs and missiles on other countries. That is an average of 46 strikes per day for 20 years. This endless bombardment has not only been deadly and devastating for its victims but is broadly recognized as seriously undermining international peace and security and diminishing America’s standing in the world.

The U.S. government and political establishment have been remarkably successful at keeping the American public in the dark about the horrific consequences of these long-term campaigns of mass destruction, allowing them to maintain the illusion of U.S. militarism as a force for good in the world in their domestic political rhetoric.

Now, even in the face of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, they are doubling down on their success at selling this counterfactual narrative to the American public to reignite their old Cold War with Russia and China, dramatically and predictably increasing the risk of nuclear war.

The new Airpower Summary data reveal that the United States has dropped another 3,246 bombs and missiles on Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria (2,068 under Trump and 1,178 under Biden) since February 2020.

The good news is that U.S. bombing of those 3 countries has significantly decreased from the over 12,000 bombs and missiles it dropped on them in 2019. In fact, since the withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces from Afghanistan in August, the U.S. military has officially conducted no air strikes there, and only dropped 13 bombs or missiles on Iraq and Syria – although this does not preclude additional unreported strikes by forces under CIA command or control.

Presidents Trump and Biden both deserve credit for recognizing that endless bombing and occupation could not deliver victory in Afghanistan. The speed with which the U.S.-installed government fell to the Taliban once the U.S. withdrawal was under way confirmed how 20 years of hostile military occupation, aerial bombardment and support for corrupt governments ultimately served only to drive the war-weary people of Afghanistan back to Taliban rule.

Biden’s callous decision to follow 20 years of colonial occupation and aerial bombardment in Afghanistan with the same kind of brutal economic siege warfare the United States has inflicted on Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela can only further discredit America in the eyes of the world.

There has been no accountability for these 20 years of senseless destruction. Even with the publication of Airpower Summaries, the ugly reality of U.S. bombing wars and the mass casualties they inflict remain largely hidden from the American people.

How many of the 3,246 attacks documented in the Airpower Summary since February 2020 were you aware of before reading this article? You probably heard about the drone strike that killed 10 Afghan civilians in Kabul in August 2021. But what about the other 3,245 bombs and missiles? Whom did they kill or maim, and whose homes did they destroy?

The December 2021 New York Times exposé of the consequences of U.S. airstrikes, the result of a five-year investigation, was stunning not only for the high civilian casualties and military lies it exposed, but also because it revealed just how little investigative reporting the U.S. media have done on these two decades of war.

In America’s industrialized, remote-control air wars, even the U.S. military personnel most directly and intimately involved are shielded from human contact with the people whose lives they are destroying, while for most of the American public, it is as if these hundreds of thousands of deadly explosions never even happened.

The lack of public awareness of U.S. airstrikes is not the result of a lack of concern for the mass destruction our government commits in our names. In the rare cases we find out about, like the murderous drone strike in Kabul in August, the public wants to know what happened and strongly supports U.S. accountability for civilian deaths.

So public ignorance of 99% of U.S. air strikes and their consequences is not the result of public apathy, but of deliberate decisions by the U.S. military, politicians of both parties and corporate media to keep the public in the dark. The largely unremarked 21-month-long suppression of monthly Airpower Summaries is only the latest example of this.

Now that the new Airpower Summary has filled in the previously hidden figures for 2020-21, here is the most complete data available on 20 years of deadly and destructive U.S. and allied air strikes.

Numbers of bombs and missiles dropped on other countries by the United States and its allies since 2001:

Iraq (& Syria*)

Afghanistan

Yemen

Other Countries**

2001

214

17,500

2002

252

6,500

1

2003

29,200

2004

285

86

1 (Pk)

2005

404

176

3 (Pk)

2006

310

2,644

7,002 (Le,Pk)

2007

1,708

5,198

9 (Pk,S)

2008

1,075

5,215

40 (Pk,S)

2009

126

4,184

3

5,554 (Pk,Pl)

2010

8

5,126

2

128 (Pk)

2011

4

5,411

13

7,763 (Li,Pk,S)

2012

4,083

41

54 (Li, Pk,S)

2013

2,758

22

32 (Li,Pk,S)

2014

6,292*

2,365

20

5,058 (Li,Pl,Pk,S)

2015

28,696*

947

14,191

28 (Li,Pk,S)

2016

30,743*

1,337

14,549

529 (Li,Pk,S)

2017

39,577*

4,361

15,969

301 (Li,Pk,S)

2018

8,713*

7,362

9,746

84 (Li,Pk,S)

2019

4,729*

7,423

3,045

65 (Li,S)

2020

1,188*

1,631

7,622

54 (S)

2021

554*

801

4,428

1,512 (Pl,S)

Total

154, 078*

85,108

69,652

28,217

Grand Total = 337,055 bombs and missiles.

**Other Countries: Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia.

These figures are based on U.S. Airpower Summaries for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria; the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s count of drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen; the Yemen Data Project‘s count of bombs and missiles dropped on Yemen (only through September 2021); the New America Foundation’s database of foreign air strikes in Libya; and other sources.
.

Benny

more from Common Dreams..

There are several categories of air strikes that are not included in this table, meaning that the true numbers of weapons unleashed are certainly higher. These include:

Helicopter strikes: Military Times published an article in February 2017 titled, “The U.S. military’s stats on deadly air strikes are wrong. Thousands have gone unreported.” The largest pool of air strikes not included in U.S. Airpower Summaries are strikes by attack helicopters. The U.S. Army told the authors its helicopters had conducted 456 otherwise unreported air strikes in Afghanistan in 2016. The authors explained that the non-reporting of helicopter strikes has been consistent throughout the post-9/11 wars, and they still did not know how many missiles were fired in those 456 attacks in Afghanistan in the one year they investigated.

AC-130 gunships: The U.S. military did not destroy the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, in 2015 with bombs or missiles, but with a Lockheed-Boeing AC-130 gunship. These machines of mass destruction, usually manned by U.S. Air Force special operations forces, are designed to circle a target on the ground, pouring howitzer shells and cannon fire into it until it is completely destroyed. The U.S. has used AC-130s in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Syria.

Strafing runs: U.S. Airpower Summaries for 2004-2007 included a note that their tally of “strikes with munitions dropped… does not include 20mm and 30mm cannon or rockets.” But the 30mm cannons on A-10 Warthogs and other ground attack planes are powerful weapons, originally designed to destroy Soviet tanks. A-10s can fire 65 depleted uranium shells per second to blanket an area with deadly and indiscriminate fire. But that does not appear to count as a “weapons release” in U.S. Airpower Summaries.

“Counter-insurgency” and “counter-terrorism” operations in other parts of the world: The United States formed a military coalition with 11 West African countries in 2005, and has built a drone base in Niger, but we have not found any systematic accounting of U.S. and allied air strikes in that region, or in the Philippines, Latin America or elsewhere.

The failure of the U.S. government, politicians and corporate media to honestly inform and educate the American public about the systematic mass destruction wreaked by our country’s armed forces has allowed this carnage to continue largely unremarked and unchecked for 20 years.

It has also left us precariously vulnerable to the revival of an anachronistic, Manichean Cold War narrative that risks even greater catastrophe. In this topsy-turvy, “through the looking glass” narrative, the country actually bombing cities to rubble and waging wars that kill millions of people, presents itself as a well-intentioned force for good in the world. Then it paints countries like China, Russia and Iran, which have understandably strengthened their defenses to deter the United States from attacking them, as threats to the American people and to world peace.

The high-level talks beginning on January 10th in Geneva between the United States and Russia are a critical opportunity, maybe even a last chance, to rein in the escalation of the current Cold War before this breakdown in East-West relations becomes irreversible or devolves into a military conflict.

If we are to emerge from this morass of militarism and avoid the risk of an apocalyptic war with Russia or China, the U.S. public must challenge the counterfactual Cold War narrative that U.S. military and civilian leaders are peddling to justify their ever-increasing investments in nuclear weapons and the U.S. war machine.

orlbucfan

20 years? Really. This has been going down for more than 20 years. Don’t insult our intelligence.

wi63

I would go back to the Korean conflict at least

wi63

I wonder if “covert” operations are included in any of these totals.

wi63

Wondering what the cost is for those bombs, the human toll is something else. I wonder if that total is close to reality as the MIC cant keep track of the funding they get,

Benny

This explains why AOC had to excuse herself in marching with Amazon workers in her district last weekend.

Benny

wi63

They more R than anything else now

Benny

I think I predicted this last month.

polarbear4
polarbear4

Corporations have taken over to the extent that I fear that my grandchildren won’t even know that there is a different and more fulfilling life.

Benny

wi63

Tell us something we dont know Tracy

Benny

polarbear4
polarbear4

let’s hope it makes a difference. if the cms gaf

Benny

wi63

New players same weapons of mass decption

Benny

Benny

https://www.wired.com/story/document-reveals-more-google-anti-union-strategy/

A NEWLY RELEASED document sheds light on Google’s efforts to quash activism, including for a union, among its employees. In an order submitted Friday, an administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board told Google to turn over to the attorney representing a group of current and former employees documents related to its “Project Vivian,” and its hiring of a consulting firm that advises employers battling unionization efforts.

Google launched Project Vivian to dissuade employees from unionizing after worker activism began heating up in late 2018. In the order, Michael Pfyl, Google’s director of employment law, is quoted describing Project Vivian’s mission as “to engage employees more positively and convince them that unions suck.” The context for Pfyl’s description isn’t clear from the order, which also references an effort to use the media to quietly disseminate Google’s point of view about unionized tech workplaces.

The judge, Paul Bogas, ordered Google to comply with portions of a subpoena for documents related to Project Vivian, as well as Google’s hiring of IRI Consultants, the anti-union firm. In November, Bogas issued a similar order for other documents concerning Vivian and IRI; the subpoena covers more than 1,500 documents.

The subpoena is part of an NLRB case brought by seven Google employees and ex-employees in December 2019. (One former employee has since settled.) Five workers were fired and two were disciplined after they engaged in workplace activism, including efforts to improve working conditions for Google contractors, and circulating a petition calling on the company to end its contract with US government agencies involved in immigrant deportation and family separation. Paul Duke, one of the fired employees who brought the charges, says the organizing was part of an effort to lay the foundation for a union.

Responding to the former employees’ claims that they were fired in retaliation for workplace organizing, a Google spokesperson wrote, “The underlying case here has nothing to do with unionization. It’s about employees breaching clear security protocols to access confidential information and systems inappropriately”—a reference to internal documents the employees accessed.

Duke flatly rejects the claim that he and his colleagues breached security protocols, saying the documents were accessible to all engineers and that the company later classified them “need to know.”

In its objections to the subpoenas, Google claimed attorney-client privilege and “work product privilege,” which protects materials prepared in anticipation of litigation. Bogas rejected many of these claims, calling one assertion “to put it charitably, an overreach.” Of the efforts to characterize a potential union election as litigation, and therefore privileged, he wrote, “The respondent cannot spin the mere fact of a nascent organizing effort among employees into ‘litigation’—like straw spun into gold—that entitles it to cloak in privilege every aspect of its antiunion campaign.”

Bogas’ order references an effort by Google executives, including corporate counsel Christina Latta, to “find a ‘respected voice to publish an op-ed outlining what a unionized tech workplace would look like,” and urging employees of Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google not to unionize. The order says that in an internal message Google human resources director Kara Silverstein told Latta that she liked the idea, “but that it should be done so that there ‘would be no fingerprints and not Google specific.’” According to the order, IRI later provided a proposed draft of the op-ed to Latta; it’s not clear if the article was ever published.

The Google spokesperson said the company disagreed with Bogas’ conclusion that the documents are not privileged. “As we’ve stated, our teams engage with dozens of outside consultants and law firms to provide us with advice on a wide range of topics, including employer obligations and employee engagement. This included IRI Consultants for a short period. However, we made a decision in 2019 not to use the materials or ideas explored during this engagement, and we still feel that was the right decision.”

Google hired IRI as early as 2019, according to a report by The New York Times, during a period when employee activism was at a fever pitch. The company had been accused of retaliating against the employees who organized the 2018 Google walkout and squelching worker dissent by installing a tool that flagged calendar events for large numbers of participants. In January 2021, the Alphabet Workers Union, an informal union without collective bargaining rights and affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, went public.

Duke says the details in the order clash with Google’s internal messaging to employees. He cited executives’ emphasis on listening to feedback from an annual employee survey, as well as a 2018 internal memo by CEO Sundar Pichai saying he supported the walkout and a blog post pledging to support employees and improve Google’s handling of sexual harassment claims and diversity initiatives. “There was always this message that was intended to come off like, we’re a family. We care about workers,” he says. “Really, behind the scenes, they’re trying to kill these union efforts and organizing efforts in general.”

The hearing for the NLRB case began in August, but was paused soon after when Google failed to comply with this and other subpoenas. Meanwhile, the employees’ lawyer has asked a federal court to enforce the subpoenas because the NLRB’s enforcement powers are limited. The hearing is scheduled to resume in February, but could be delayed further while the subpoena tussle plays out.

When it does reconvene, the employees plan to call Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs and chief legal officer, to testify. When they initially subpoenaed Walker in August, the company resisted that too. The labor board denied its request.

Benny

orlbucfan

Luntz is a GOPuke yahoo, and always will be.

Benny

He is, but he’s not wrong at least half of the time. In this instance, this is what the GOP is betting on. Starving our folks then blaming Dems.

polarbear4
polarbear4

tbf, dems are complicit.

SpringTexan
SpringTexan

Honestly, Biden isn’t doing a good job, they are counting on that. He keeps saying how good the economy is and that makes him out of touch, also seems weak. 2022 and 2024 are going to e an electoral disaster.
I’ve given up donating to Democrats, donating to strike funds instead.

polarbear4
polarbear4

great idea.