Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

In Display of 'Actual Sociopathy,' Trump Reportedly Asked CIA Why Drone Didn't Also Kill Target's Family

The question came as civilian casualties have reached "unprecedented" heights during Trump's presidency

Jake Johnson

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a joint news conference with Amir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait, September 7, 2017. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has shown little concern for civilian casualties overseas during his tenure as commander-in-chief, and according to a report published Thursday by the Washington Post, he actually wishes there were more of them.

"Yes, it was a campaign promise. A sociopathic one that would clearly be a war crime, which is why even US military and intelligence officials—hardly shy about war crimes—were mortified and said they would never follow such a demented order."
—Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

Reacting to footage of a drone strike in Syria in which the CIA waited until the target was separated from his family before firing, Trump reportedly asked, "Why did you wait?"

While Trump's question was immediately denounced as a display of "actual sociopathy," it was perfectly in line with his campaign rhetoric insisting that the best way to combat terrorism is to "take out" the alleged perpetrators' families.

"We're fighting a very politically correct war," Trump lamented during an interview on Fox News in December of 2015. "And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families."

Acknowledging that Trump made the deliberate killing of civilians part of his campaign platform, The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald noted that actually carrying out such a policy "would clearly be a war crime, which is why even U.S. military and intelligence officials—hardly shy about war crimes—were mortified and said they would never follow such a demented order."

As Common Dreams has reported, civilian casualties overseas increased dramatically during Trump's first year in the White House.

In an analysis published in January, the watchdog group Airwars estimated that civilian deaths from bombs dropped by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria in 2017 rose 215 percent from than the previous year.

"This unprecedented death toll coincided with the start of the Trump presidency, and suggested in part that policies aimed at protecting civilians had been scaled back under the new administration," Airwars concluded.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

House Democrats Request 'Damage Assessment' Following Recovery of Classified Docs

"Former President Trump's conduct has potentially put our national security at grave risk," Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Adam Schiff wrote to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

Kenny Stancil ·


Violent Threats Against FBI Soar as Trump Lies About Mar-a-Lago Search

Menacing messages posted online "include a threat to place a so-called dirty bomb in front of FBI Headquarters" and "general calls for 'civil war' and 'armed rebellion,'" officials warned.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Biggest Win for Tax Fairness' in Decades: Progressives Cheer Reforms in IRA, Demand More

"While this bill establishes desperately needed changes to our tax laws and IRS funding, it is still a far cry from the systemic changes that we need in our society to rectify the hold the rich still have on every level of our economy."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Care Can't Wait': IRA a Good Start, Progressives Say, But More Is Needed

"Americans deserve a full loaf of bread," said health justice advocate Ady Barkan.

Kenny Stancil ·


'I'm Back': Fetterman Returns to Campaign Trail Following May Stroke

"I'm not only grateful to be alive, but also for the campaign we're building together," said the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania's open U.S. Senate seat.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo