[pjw] NEWS: US Releases First Estimate of Civilian Deaths in Drone Strikes (Newser 7/2)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Sat Jul 2 19:10:47 EDT 2016
Well, happy founding-of-the-country-day weekend!
As noted in the Newser roundup of information on the government's first
official publication about civilian deaths of drone strikes, this
information came out on the Friday of a holiday weekend (meaning it gets
less attention), and the data are very compromised by not including
supposed official war zones (Iraq, Afghanistan and... Syria... wait, when
did the US declare war on Syria?).
As it happens, http://airwars.org reports at least 1358 civilians killed
in the strikes on Iraq and Syria since 2013, but that includes
conventional aircraft as well as drones.
So... where is the international body that is going to hold countries
accountable for these deaths? Oh yeah, the US didn't sign on to the
International Criminal Court.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
US Releases First Estimate of Civilian Deaths in Drone Strikes
At least 64 since 2009, a figure lower than independent estimates
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2016 6:22 AM CDT
(Newser) After years of pressure, the White House has released
details about the number of civilians accidentally killed by US drone
strikes--though the information comes with plenty of asterisks. The
official estimate is that between 64 and 116 civilians have been killed
in such strikes since 2009, reports USA Today. Some of those
asterisks: That range is much lower than estimates by independent
groups--their figures go from about 200 to more than 1,000--and the White
House doesn't specify when or where the fatalities occurred except to
say they were in non-war zones. That means strikes in Afghanistan,
Iraq, and Syria were not counted, but those in countries such as
Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and LIbya were, reports the Washington
Post. The US also says that it killed about 2,500 enemy militants in
those same non-combat zones.
As part of the release--m ost coverage notes that the White House did
this on a Friday before a holiday weekend-- President Obama made a
significant policy change: He issued an executive order requiring that
future presidents make this information public in an annual list, notes
the New York Times. "This is a remarkable shift, even if you're
skeptical of numbers this reports," writes Naureen Shah at the
Guardian. But Shah also sees a downside: "The drone data could be
completely misleading--and provide a veneer of legitimacy to unlawful
killings." The reaction from Human Rights Watch: "Unless details are
provided on specific incidents, it's not possible to determine if
individuals killed were civilians, and thus whether the US is complying
with its own policy and with international law."
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