[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.
--dan h
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 [72]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 [73]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 [74]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 [75]New York Times. "This is a remarkable shift, even if you're
    skeptical of numbers this reports," writes Naureen Shah at the
    [76]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."
73. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/01/obama-drone-strike-report-executive-order/86584806/
   74. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-releases-its-count-of-civilian-deaths-in-counterterrorism-operations-under-obama/2016/07/01/3196aa1e-3fa2-11e6-80bc-d06711fd2125_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_usdrones-150pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory
   75. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/02/world/us-reveals-death-toll-from-airstrikes-outside-of-war-zones.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
   76. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/01/drone-killings-white-house-truth

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