Yesterday, I received a panicky message on social media from someone who thought President Trump is going to start a war with Iran. The root of the concern was that the Trump administration put Iran on notice.
I responded by telling my social media friend to settle down and take two aspirins with a glass of water.
I reminded this person that we are already in various wars, a rather overlooked part of the Obama legacy.
President Obama ordered air strikes in Syria and Yemen in his last week. He approved the Yemen operation where a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed. He sent troops back to Iraq.
While candidate Obama came to office pledging to end George W Bush’s wars, he leaves office having been at war longer than any president in US history.
He is also the only president to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.
President Obama did reduce the number of US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he dramatically expanded the air wars and the use of special operations forces around the globe.
In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70% of the world’s nations, 138 countries – a staggering jump of 130% since the days of the Bush administration.
Looking back at President Obama’s legacy, the Council on Foreign Relation’s Micah Zenko added up the defense department’s data on airstrikes and made a startling revelation: in 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs.
This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.
While most of these air attacks were in Syria and Iraq, US bombs also rained down on people in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. That’s seven majority-Muslim countries.
One bombing technique that President Obama championed is drone strikes. As drone-warrior-in-chief, he spread the use of drones outside the declared battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, mainly to Pakistan and Yemen.
Obama authorized over 10 times more drone strikes than George W Bush, and automatically painted all males of military age in these regions as combatants, making them fair game for remote controlled killing.
To be fair, I supported some of those actions. My criticism was that he did not go to the U.S. public and explain what he was doing.
My “anti-Trumpista” friend had to admit that President Obama had left a few wars for President Trump to worry about.
Two weeks of Trump, and it looks to me that his critics have gone crazy, or “extra loco,” as my mother used to yell at us in Spanish when she thought we were acting strange.
Maybe this state of “extra loco” is a natural consequence of what happened on Election Night. After all, most of these people thought Election Day was just a formality to Mrs. Clinton’s sweeping electoral victory.
And the media is even worse. They’ve gone from eating out of Obama’s hand to biting Mr. Trump’s. They’ve gone from silly poodles to pit bulls in a dogfight. The media protected Obama, from “Fast and Furious” to the IRS to Benghazi, and now they want to tear up Trump over everything.
As you may remember, I did not start out as a Trump supporter. However, I’m on his side now, especially after watching the other side freak out over everything.
Memo to anti-Trumpistas: Take a couple of aspirins with a glass water, and remember that you’ve got four more years of President Trump. Maybe eight years! And it won’t look any prettier on Election Day 2018, with so many Democrats running in red states.