Obama’s counterterrorism policy, by the numbers

Obama’s counterterrorism policy, by the numbers

According to the New York Times, President Barack Obama will use his big counterterrorism speech on Thursday to sharply curtail the administration’s targeted killings. Going forward, the strict criteria used for approving strikes on American citizens abroad will govern drone strikes on all suspected militants.

The new policy represents a serious shift for a president who has come to rely on drone strikes in remote areas far from traditional battlefields to take out the alleged leaders of al Qaeda and its affiliates. But how does the new policy fit into Obama’s broader counterterror strategy? As you listen to Obama’s address today, consider the following figures from Obama’s time in office:

375: Drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan

241 – 592: Civilians killed in Pakistan as a result of drone strikes

57: Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders killed in airstrikes in Pakistan

1: Al Qaeda chief killed

1,861*: Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan

80,000: Syrians killed in the country’s civil war 

166: Detainees currently being held at the U.S.-run prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba

103: Gitmo detainees on hunger strike

86: Gitmo detainees cleared for transfer

6: Individuals prosecuted for disclosing classified national security information to reporters — double the number under all previous U.S. presidents combined  

5: Jihadist terror attacks — either carried out or foiled — on American soil (the Boston Marathon bombing, the Times Square bomb plot, the underwear bomber, the Ft. Hood shooting, and the cargo bomb plot)

48**: Terrorist attacks in the United States

16: People killed in jihadist terror attacks on American soil (three in Boston and 13 at Ft. Hood)

1: Ambassadors killed in the line of duty

1: Wars ended

* Includes the month of January 2009, when President George W. Bush was still in office 

** Includes preliminary data through 2012 as defined by the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland