With the budget President Trump proposed this week, it should come as no surprise that it is the United States military that receives the lion’s share of the spoils. This year the military will enjoy a $30 billion increase; next year’s military spending will spike another 10 percent, by $54 billion.
But financially is not the only way in which the military industrial complex is predicted to benefit. According to the Telegraph, the Trump administration is proceeding with plans to roll back restrictions on drone strikes, eliminating the “near certainty” requirement of zero civilian casualties outside war zones. The administration has already approved the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) authority to launch its own strikes against militants, allowing the Pentagon and CIA more independence for strikes against al-Qaeda and ISIL terrorists without obtaining White House approval.
A U.S. official told NBC News:
“Some of the Obama administration rules were getting in the way of good strikes.”
According to the Telegraph piece, before those administration rules, CIA attacks were blamed for hundreds of civilian casualties in Pakistan during the Obama administration, which was frequently criticized for escalating former President Bush’s drone program. As a result, President Obama instituted a rule that no strike could occur outside a war zone unless there was “near certainty” it could avoid civilian deaths. The military or CIA also had to prove an imminent threat to the United States.
Originating out of criticism that argued drone strikes had the potential to turn civilian populations against America and toward recruiters for terrorist organizations, Obama’s policies were created to set a global standard for regulation as more nations adopted drone technology. Under Obama, the United States took seriously its responsibility as a role model for other countries.
Under President Trump, though, and his gift to the military and CIA of near carte-blanche authority to reverse course, it looks as though the potential to promulgate civilian terrorism is once again a reality.
If this is making America safe again, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Featured image from U.S. Army via CNN Breaking News on Twitter.