- President Donald Trump once questioned why the CIA had waited for a drone-strike target to walk away from his family before killing him, according to The Washington Post.
- On the campaign trail, Trump publicly advocated killing the families of terrorists.
- He has also spoken in favour of using imprecise, large-scale military power against enemies in Syria and Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump was once apparently unhappy with the CIA’s desire to minimise civilian casualties when carrying out drone strikes, according to a Washington Post source who The Post said attended a meeting with Trump and agency officials.
On Trump’s first full day in office, in January 2017, according to The Post, the CIA showed Trump a recording of a drone strike in which operators had waited to strike until the target wandered away from his home, which had his family inside. But Trump apparently questioned the move.
“Why did you wait?” the person at the meeting recalled Trump saying.
The Post suggested Trump more generally seemed unimpressed by new military capabilities designed to limit civilian casualties; its sources said he commanded the CIA to begin arming its drones in Syria, where the agency had largely been flying surveillance missions and leaving strikes up to the US military.
Trump has publicly expressed disregard for civilian lives in war zones – on the campaign trail in December 2015, he expressed a similar sentiment on “Fox & Friends.”
“We’re fighting a very politically correct war,” Trump said. “When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives – don’t kid yourself.”
Trump has also advocated the use of overwhelming force against terrorist groups like the Islamic State.
Last April, Trump gave the Pentagon a free hand to use the largest nonnuclear bomb in the US arsenal, known as the “Mother of All Bombs,” to strike at a cave complex inhabited by suspected ISIS fighters in Afghanistan.
“We have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing and frankly that’s why they have been so successful lately,” the president said at the time. “If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what’s happened over the past eight years, you’ll see there’s a tremendous difference, tremendous difference.”
The explosion produced a mushroom cloud 5 miles high that was visible for miles around.