Foreign Policy

The U.S. Dropped More Than 26,000 Bombs Last Year

Both the number of bombs and the number of countries being bombed was higher in 2016 than in 2015.


Total Experience

How many bombs did the U.S. military drop last year? It's hard to get an exact count, but Micah Zenko and Jennifer Wilson have done the best tally they can:

In President Obama's last year in office, the United States dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries. This estimate is 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. In 2016, the United States dropped 3,027 more bombs—and in one more country, Libya—than in 2015.

Most (24,287) were dropped in Iraq and Syria.

The full list:

Council on Foreign Relations

To read their whole post, go here; to look at 2015's tally, go here. To remind yourself that we knew way back in 2008 that Barack Obama wasn't the dove many of his supporters were expecting, go here. And since some people still seem convinced that Obama has been pulling the U.S. back from the world, you may also want to go here to see Daniel Larison doing battle with the idea that Obama has had a "commitment to retrenchment." Writes Larison: "The U.S. is involved in more wars in more countries today than it was when Obama became president. By any reasonable definition, that can't be what retrenchment looks like."