Who killed more terrorists? Bush or Obama?

I don’t mean personally, of course; but under whose watch have more terrorists been killed by U.S. actions?

Hard to tell in terms of say drone strikes who is a real terrorist or an innocent person. Both have done so, but Obama has gotten more prominent terrorists, most prominent being Osama.

Well, they did not really start from the same place & conditions of the day.

A lot changed along the way. That is a long stretch of time & a lot of death.

IMO, neither one really did anything themselves, they just said yes & no.

Another question is at what cost. Why should cost matter? Because, if you get, say, 100 soldiers killed for every terrorist killed, and those terrorists would have killed an average of, say, 10 people each if allowed to “terrorize” freely, then you aren’t saving lives at all.

Bush got around 10,000 or so soldiers killed. Not to mention a much larger number crippled in ways that reduce their value to society for the rest of their lives. I hope he got enough terrorists to be worth it.

Problem is, there’s almost no way he did. The majority of enemy insurgents killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars can be thought of as local terrorists. They didn’t have the resources to travel internationally to the United States and do some damage.

How many real, international terrorists exist? No one knows, but it cannot be very many, because if it was a large number, there would be daily terrorists attacks on the United States and at least a few of them would succeed. Instead of 2 or so airliner bombing attempts, there would have been thousands. And so on.

Before anyone can start answering this you need to create a meaningful definition of “terrorist”.

If you have a long beard and you live in the desert… and you are not in ZZ Top, you just might be a terrorist.

Seems, by last January, Obama had killed 2,500 in Pakistan using drones.

Shame almost 200 were children and several hunded more civilians.


Still, I’m sure it was all done in a good cause.

As The Librarian says, you need to define terrorist. Most of what are now lumped under the term terrorists are not. There was a time when we talked about guerilla warfare. Somewhere along the way that term has been lost and now any stateless organisation engaged in guerilla warfare, be it civil war, or wider conflicts, are termed terrorist. Even if they spend their time engaged in what are for all useful intents conventional on the ground warfare, if they are on the wrong side of one’s current political alliances, they are now terrorists.

IS is not a terrorist organisation. It is a stateless group that is attempting to become a state by military action. The Taleban are not terrorists. They are engaged in a civil war to gain control of the country. Some members might find it convenient to engage in terrorist activities, but they are small minority. For the most part we are not fighting a war on terror. We are fighting simple conventional bloody wars, ones that have been ongoing since the breakup of the Ottoman empire or earlier. What is different is that these wars have started to involve more and more stateless entities, and this gets us past the veneer of civility that “proper” wars have. Stateless entities are not party to things like the Geneva conventions. Both sides have a nasty habit of exploiting that.

There does need to be a proper term for such organisations as IS, but terrorist is not the right one. It actually underplays the threat they present.

Got a cite for that?

An organization like ISIL that engages in public beheadings of journalists* is a terrorist organization. Those are not the actions of rogue members, but a tactic sanctioned from the top. They can be fighting a civil war and be a terrorist organization. A designation by the latter term does not diminish their perceived threat to anyone.

*and that is just one example of terror activities they engage in

If you’re defining terrorism by the act, then you also have to take into account means - ISIS doesn’t have helicopters, tanks or drones i.e. the sophisticated means of other terror organisations.

Public executions are the mark of a terrorist organisation? You would need to include a number of sovereign states in even current times, let alone a large fraction of the world up until only a few hundred years ago.

Actions such as these, taken inside occupied territory, to captured people, are war crimes, not terrorist activities. Acting outside of the Geneva conventions doesn’t make an organisation a terrorist organisation.

Pretty much this. Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIL… They’re all terror organisations. So members/soldiers of those groups are terrorists.

Coalition forces that use attack helicopters and drones against insurgent/terrorist groups are different from insurgents/terrorist groups that target civilians in marketplaces and children in schools.

We’re talking about jornalists, right? See link above.

That’s not what I said, so no.

Let’s flesh it out more. The deliberate use of violence against civilians as a means to accomplish political goals is terrorism. That is the purpose of public execution of journalists are an example of that. Note the underlined part of that sentence that you left off. And it’s not just journalists. Aid workers and other civilians, both local and foreign, are routinely executed by ISIL as a means of setting up their so-called Caliphate.

Terrorism, plain and simple. There may be many different definitions of terrorism, but I can’t imagine any meaningful definition that excludes the actions of ISIL and al Qaeda.

I asked how many terrorists were killed under each administration, not how many journalists were killed.

And I’m responding to John Mace who claimed reporters as some kind of measure.

In the case of Afghanistan these local terrorists were aiding and abetting international terrorists. International terrorists who would be trained in camps in Afghanistan and then bring their new found expertise to foreign states. Not every local terrorist is created equal.

It is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Nations, European Union, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Syria. It is pretty much the exact same entity that used to call itself Al Qaeda in Iraq. If you would prefer that they not be thought of as a terrorist organization, you certainly have a right to your opinion. But as a factual matter, they are regarded as a terrorist organization by pretty much everyone who matters.

Ok, sure. But to be fair, if you’re keeping score, the less important a person is (especially if they are a rate limiting resource) to a terror organization, the less benefit to be gained from killing them. Each of those Afghanistan fighters might kill, what, 0.01 Americans on average if they were permitted to terrorize freely? I’m just giving numbers to illustrate the problem, objectively working out estimates for what the real numbers are can be done but would be a big project.

The problem being that you have to kill an awful lot of “local terrorists” to be worth the American lives lost.