Via the British group Reprieve comes a report asserting that U.S. drones in Yemen and Pakistan kill 28 "unknowns" for every intended target. What's more, "41 names of men who seemed to have achieved the impossible: tohave 'died,' in public reporting, not just once, not just twice, but again and again. Reports indicate that each assassination target 'died' on average more than three times beforetheir actual death."
So much for the precision of drone strikes, which promise a future of war in which civilians and other forms of collateral damage are spared ruin and destruction. As President Obama said in 2013, by "narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us, and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life."
Well, sort of. From the Reprieve report:
As many as 1,147 people may have been killed during attempts to kill 41 men, accounting for a quarter of all possible drone strike casualties in Pakistan andYemen. In Yemen, strikes against just 17 targets accounted for almost half of all confirmedcivilian casualties. Yet evidence suggests that at least four of these 17 men are still alive. Similarly, in Pakistan, 221 people, including 103 children, have been killed in attemptsto kill four men, three of whom are still alive and a fourth of whom died from naturalcauses. One individual, Fahd al Quso, was reported killed in both Yemen and Pakistan. In four attempts to kill al Quso, 48 people potentially lost their lives.
Earlier this year, Newsweek reported that "Obama's drone war shows no signs of ending." A snippet:
Despite some spectacular drone hits that took out militant leaders in places such as Yemen and Pakistan, there are growing concerns in Washington that the net effect of the targeted-killing program may be counterproductive. "Collateral damage" is seen as an al Qaeda recruiting tool that undercuts the main rationale for the drone campaign—to make Americans safer.
"It's never a good idea to make more enemies than you get rid of," a former U.S. national security official said.
Back in 2012, Reason TV offered "3 Reasons U.S. Drone Policy is Really Freaking Scary." Watch below: