Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The U.S. dropped an average of 72 bombs every day — the equivalent of three an hour — in 2016, according to an analysis of American strikes around the world.
The report from the Council of Foreign Relations comes as Barack Obama finishes up his presidency — one that began with promises to withdraw from international conflicts.
According to the New York City-based think tank, 26,171 bombs were dropped on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan during the year.
CFR warned that its estimates were "undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single 'strike,' according to the Pentagon's definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions."
Some 24,287 bombs were used in Iraq and Syria, where the U.S. is helping drive ISIS militants from swaths of both countries. In 2015, the U.S. dropped 22,110 bombs in Iraq and Syria, CFR reported.
Last year saw a sharp uptick in strikes in Afghanistan, with 1,337 compared with 947 in 2015, CFR found.
The study, which drew data from a variety of military and press sources, showed that three bombs were dropped on Pakistan during 2016, 14 in Somalia and 34 in Yemen.
A similar study looking at 2015 showed that 11 bombs were dropped in Pakistan during the year, 58 in Yemen and 18 in Somalia. The 2015 analysis did not include Libya.
When he was campaigning for president in 2008, Obama pledged that when he became commander-in-chief he would "set a new goal on day one: I will end [the Iraq] war."
Upon accepting the Democratic nomination that year, Obama again outlined priorities that would make the country safer, saying: "I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan."
However, ISIS later seized parts of Syria and Iraq — and the Taliban won back territory in Afghanistan as the number of NATO troops in the country dwindled.