The Associated Press Carries Water for U.S. Predator Drone Program

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The AP released a fascinating report this morning about Washington's fight with the Pakistani government over the use of CIA drone strikes. The story describes the lengths to which CIA Director David Petraeus has gone to maintain Pakistan's blessing in the use of drone strikes, Pakistan's unwillingness to continue blessing said drone strikes, and the Obama administration's incredible snow job on the entire affair, which amounts to, "Everything is fine, predator drones are great, terrorists are bad." 

The real treat, however, is the AP's description of the 8-year drone program. According to the wire service, it's been nothing but a smashing success: 

The diplomatic furor threatens to halt the CIA's drone program, which in the last eight years, has killed an estimated 2,223 Taliban, al-Qaida and other suspected militants with 289 strikes, peaking at 117 strikes throughout 2010, reducing al-Qaida's manpower, firepower and reach, according to Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal website, which tracks the strikes. U.S. officials say his figures are fairly accurate, though they would not give more precise figures.

If U.S. officials aren't objecting to a reported death tally, you're doing something wrong. In this case, we know the AP is committing a sin of omission by not including Sadaullah, a 15-year-old Pakistani who lost both legs, one eye, his wheelchair-bound uncle and two cousins during an errant drone strike; or 16-year-old anti-drone activist Tariq Aziz and his 12-year-old cousin, both of whom were killed by a CIA drone while driving to retrieve their dear old aunty. 

The Long War Journal's numbers are also contradicted by the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which estimates that

civilian casualties occur in approximately one fifth of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan. Since the drone war began in Pakistan in 2004, more than 2,300 people have been killed and at least 1,150 wounded in these strikes. The Bureau estimates that the dead could include as many as 780 civilians, including as many as 175 children.[13]

The New America Foundation, meanwhile, put the number of civilian casualties from drone strikes at 32 percent

There's a lot of daylight between those three estimates; enough that the AP should know better than to regurgitate the claim that every person killed by a CIA drone strike in the last eight years was a terrorist. 

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  1. Not to mention that NPR is blowing the CIA every chance they get, see GG here:
    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/2…..singleton/

    This follows a truly unbelievable radio report I heard about two weeks back where NPR was gushing over the drone successes, uncritically echoing what they were told by “officials”. Sheesh.

    1. Did you actually expect anything different? The vast majority of journalists are nothing but press flacks for their TEAM of choice.

      1. If you really want to kick ass and take names in a war, I mean really just indiscriminately bomb the living hell out of anyone in your way, you better get yourself a Democratic president to do it.

        1. You should call the party by its true name: Republocrat.

          1. Fingerlicans?

            1. & Tastycrats – or the most apropos one of all:
              Brain Slug Party.

              1. Parasiticans.

              2. The Brain Slug Party endorses unreasonably high subsidies to the Brain Slug Planet. They definitely fit.

      2. Of course the AP likes the drones.

        Do yo know how many times a drone strike has given them an immediate headline just before their deadline? (often is my guess)

      3. The vast majority are nothing but flacks for their TEAM

        And what’s your TEAM color, lifer?

    2. Team D radio always cheers them when “the right people” are in charge. Remember when they cheered when Nixon told David Frost “it’s not illegal when the president does it?” No? Just wait until Maobama says the same thing.

      1. Hasn’t Holder said pretty close to that when explaining the Al Awalki killing?

        1. Oh yes, that one. Don’t forget recess appointments when class is still in session. There must be one or two more.

  2. Those civilians and children were clearly suspected militants. I mean, there were brown, right?

  3. Modern media is in fear and is desperately fighting for their lives. They have completely thrown their lot in with the Government – in the hope that a bailout is in their future.

    1. You don’t think they might rediscover their inner pacifist once the other team takes the White House?

      1. Bank it.

      2. Democrats are probably seen as the best choice for saving journalism’s sorry ass from its own self inflicted injuries since the media swings mostly to the left. Once a Republican finally manages to occupy Pennsylvania Avenue, the media will be all over him like white on rice in a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm! Doesn’t matter if the next GOP President is Jesus himself with Buddha as VP; the media will attack without mercy in the hopes of gaining favor with the next Democrat who manages to get into the White House.

        Big Media is drowning face down in a port-a-potty and they’ve not a clue on how to swim!

        1. Once a Republican finally manages to occupy Pennsylvania Avenue, the media will be all over him like white on rice in a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm!

          Like they were all over Bush during the runup to the Iraq war?

          1. They were whether you like it or not.

            1. You’re right. I forgot how the media excoriated Bush for failing to properly justify the war and then shamed him into not waging it, saving us about 5000 dead soldiers and a trillion dollars in the process. How could I have forgotten that?

              1. My recollection was that the MSM was pretty much a cheer section for going to war. At the time I described myself a fiscal conservative/social liberal. I never saw any amount of scrutiny of the reports of WMD’s. It seemed like after 9/11, the nation (including the MSM) pretty much gave up on logic, discretion, and prudence. Blood thirst was pushing the agenda, and the MSM was selling advertising on that agenda.

      3. Even better, they will moan and groan about how the world hates us – because of the non-Democrat in the White House.

  4. Speaking of errant drone strikes:
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/03…..in-danger/

  5. Part of me wants Mitt Romney to win just so the media will actually go back to criticizing at least some of the stupid shit that our government does instead of fellating their messiah. At the very least I won’t feel like I need a shower every time I read a MSM “news” story.

    1. Prediction, the moment it looks for sure that Romney is going to win the election, the AP and the NYT and others will run stories reexamining the drone program.

      The NYT ran a story on election day 2008 admitting that well maybe it was going to be hard to close Guantanamo Bay. After seven years of calling it the new Auschwitz, the run a fair minded story on the difficulties of dealing with the prisoners there the day they know Obama is taking the White House.

  6. The government stenographers at the Associated Press save lots of time “reporting” this way.

  7. Remember that part in Enemy of the State where Gene Hackman is asking the spooks why they had to off Rachel (Will Smith’s apparently platonic friend)? I wonder the same thing about Awlawki’s 16-year old son. What was the problem with him? My guess is that he spoke too pretty like his dad. Which is pretty much the only verifiable quasi-justification for killing Awlawki in the first place. He was just getting in too many zingers and they had to shut him up.

  8. Awlaki that is.

  9. Another reason to favor a Romney presidency: a much more actively skeptical media. Investigative journalism isn’t dead, just forgotten.

    1. Like how they were skeptical about Bush in the runup to the Iraq war?

      1. Don’t interrupt Professor Pomeranian when he’s shilling for Romney!

  10. Any bets on whether they dare give us a P.M. Links this p.m.?

  11. Come on people. Didn’t you know these drones have the precision of Stormtroopers that target Sandcrawlers. And, when they explode, the resulting shrapnel is imbibed with midi-chlorians that can then be immediately controlled to target only bad guys.

    1. Unfortunately, this level of technology still wouldn’t satisfy Riggs and others here.

    2. Gotta keep those ‘crawlers rollin’. The Spice must flow.

  12. Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

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