Trump urged CIA to kill more families and children in drone strikes.

In a long article on Trump’s relationship with the military, WaPo reveals that Trump urged CIA employees to commit more war crimes.

Trump came to office promising to give the Pentagon a free hand to unleash the full force of U.S. firepower. His impatience was evident on his first full day in office when he visited the CIA and was ushered up to the agency’s drone operations floor. […]

Later, when the agency’s head of drone operations explained that the CIA had developed special munitions to limit civilian casualties, the president seemed unimpressed. Watching a previously recorded strike in which the agency held off on firing until the target had wandered away from a house with his family inside, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?” one participant in the meeting recalled.

On the campaign trail, Trump often said he would “take out” the families of terrorists. —…

This was the visit where Trump spoke to several hundred CIA staffers towards the end of his visit. In his speech he complained about media coverage of the size of the crowd at his inauguration. He also made up a story about god stopping the rain for his inauguration speech. Those comments got a lot of attention. To our everlasting shame, the fact that the president urged military personnel to murder families was not.

Targeting civilians in combat is a war crime. Collective punishment is a war crime. Trump urged US military personnel under his command, to kill women and children. During the campaign he publicly said that he would demand that families of combatants be murdered. He followed through with this threat.

And let us also be clear. The US military obeyed the president’s command and changed the way it conducted drone strikes. In 2017, at least 6,000 civilians were killed in bombings by US armed forces:

According to statistics compiled by the Airwars watchdog group, there were nearly 50% more coalition air strikes in Iraq and Syria in 2017 compared with the previous year. Civilian deaths rose by 215%. The coalition, almost all US planes, dropped 20,000 bombs on Raqqa. By the end of the five-month campaign, 80% of the city was declared uninhabitable by the UN, and 1,800 civilians are thought to have been killed. Airwars estimates 1,400 of those deaths were caused by coalition air and artillery bombardment.

“We had always expected the highest proportion of civilian casualties to occur in that stage in the war and that’s exactly what happened,” said Chris Woods, the head of Airwars. “Even if we had had a Clinton presidency we would doubtless have had higher civilian casualties in that last stage of the war simply because Raqqa and Mosul were under assault. What we still don’t fully understand is how many more civilians were harmed as a result of fairly significant changes that the Trump administration says it put in place.” —…

The Hill is also covering Trump’s command to the US military to murder families:

President Trump reportedly asked an official at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) why they didn’t kill a terrorist target’s family during a drone strike.

The Washington Post reported Thursday after watching a recorded video of a Syrian drone strike where officials waited until the target was outside of his family’s home, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?”

The agency’s head of drone operations explained to an “unimpressed” Trump there are techniques to limit the number of civilian casualties. —…

If the commander in chief of the US armed forces is formally urging troops to kill civilians, it does make you wonder who’s terrorizing whom.

— @subirgrewal