Silence of the Drones via Antiwar.com
Answering a question during a live video “hangout” on Jan. 30, Obama’s words were reminiscent of the infamous “modified limited hangout” characteristic of the Nixon White House. Obama insisted that the drone targets were “on a list of active terrorists,” as if that made the killing, ipso facto, okay.
The study cites statistics complied by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the non-profit organization based at City University in London, indicating 474 to 884 civilian deaths since 2004, including 176 children. The Bureau, a non-profit organization based at City University in London, has eyewitness sources on the ground in Pakistan.
Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables of 2007 and 2008 show that the Pakistani military initially acquiesced in the drone attacks in the northwest tribal area, but acquiescence gradually became the result of coercion. And no one — and especially not the Pakistanis — appreciate being coerced. Former President Pervez Musharraf recently said that, no matter what Pakistan wanted, it was too weak militarily to oppose the drone attacks.
In addition to Glenn Greenwald’s excellent article about how chauvinistic our nation has become towards Obama’s disgusting actions
Perhaps most importantly, the report documents the extreme levels of propaganda used by the western press to deceive their citizens into believing pure myths about the drone campaign. As I’ve argued before, the worst of these myths is the journalistic mimicry of the term “militants” to describe drone victims even when those outlets have no idea who was killed or whether that term is accurate (indeed, the term itself is almost as ill-defined as “terrorist”). This media practice became particularly inexcusable after the New York Times revealed in May that “Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.”
Incredibly, even after that radical redefinition was revealed, and even after the Obama administration got caught red-handed spewing demonstrable falsehoods about the identity of drone victims, US media outlets continued to use the term “militant” to describe drone victims.
The report is equally damning when documenting the attempts of the Obama administration to suppress information about its drone victims, and worse, to actively mislead when they deign selectively to release information. Recognizing the difficulty of determining the number of civilian deaths with exactitude - due to “the opaqueness of the US government about its targeted killing program” as well as the inaccessibility of the region - it nonetheless documents that “the numbers of civilians killed are undoubtedly far higher than the few claimed by US officials.” In other words, the administration’s public statements are false: “undoubtedly” so. As the LA Times summarizes the study’s findings today: “Far more civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas than U.S. counter-terrorism officials have acknowledged.” [x]