During the Obama administration, the United States dropped 26,172 bombs in seven countries.
As Obama entered the final weeks of his presidency, there were ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which focused on reducing the number of U.S. soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, Obama dramatically expanded air wars and increased the use of special operations forces around the globe. In 2016, U.S. special operators could be found in 70 percent of the world’s nations:138 countries—a jump of 130 percent since the days of the Bush administration.
Looking back at Obama’s legacy, Micah Zenko from the Council on Foreign Relations added up the defense department’s data on airstrikes and made a revelation. In 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that every day in 2016, the U.S. military dropped 72 bombs. This is three bombs every hour.
While most of these air attacks were in Syria and Iraq, U.S. bombs also dropped in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.
This number is based on the percentage of total coalition airstrikes carried out in 2016 by the United States in Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the counter-Islamic State campaign. The Pentagon published a running count of bombs dropped by the United States. The data by OIR found that in 2016, the United States conducted about 79 percent (5,904) of the coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, which together total 7,473. Of the total 30,743 bombs that the coalition dropped, the United States dropped 24,287 (79 percent of 30,743).