Home > Politics, War > Change We Can Believe In, XXVIII

Change We Can Believe In, XXVIII

February 5, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Change We Can Believe In: Illegal Drone Killings

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism , based at City University in London, released a report yesterday on our country’s covert drone war in Pakistan. The investigation, done for the Sunday Times, reveals that

since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children. A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners.

As noted earlier in the report, “Obama claimed last week [drones strikes] are used strictly to target terrorists, rejecting what he called ‘this perception we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly’.” The meaning of the word “terrorist” stretches further with each passing year, but calling rescuers and mourners “terrorists” is a new low.

Glenn Greenwald followed up the report with some useful commentary, observing that

the Bureau is extremely scrupulous, perhaps to a fault, in the claims it makes about civilian drone fatalities. Its findings here about deliberate targeting of rescuers and funeral attendees are supported by ample verified witness testimony, field research and public reports, all of which the Bureau has documented in full. As [Bureau member Chris] Woods said by email: “We have been working for months with field researchers in Waziristan to independently verify the original reports. In 12 cases we are able to confirm that rescuers and mourners were indeed attacked.”

We can’t have an open discussion of our drone war because it is secret and Obama won’t provide details. Not that there’s evidence that Congress welcomes such a discussion. And the Republican candidates (other than Ron Paul) criticize Obama for not doing even more. American exceptionalism indeed.

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