“While the 2012 presidential election racket focuses on gaffes, Romney’s binders, and Big Bird, the CIA and the Pentagon are currently busy finding ways to increase their military power and influence around the globe. According to the Washington Post, CIA Director David Petraeus wants an increased drone fleet to “bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging Al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots.”
And with the final presidential debate on Monday focusing on foreign policy, the issue of drone strikes could not be more prescient. President Obama and former Governor Romney both carefully tiptoed around discussing anything of real substance concerning domestic issues and the economy, and will both look to outhawk each other next week concerning the use of unmanned armed drones overseas — if it is even discussed at all.
It’s easy to see why they might want to avoid the subject. The use of drone strikes have increased exponentially under the Obama administration, becoming a signature aspect of his incredibly aggressive and reckless foreign policy. And while the president and his advisers defend both their supposed legality and precision while simultaneously bragging when convenient and denying when pressured that the drone program even exists, a closer look at the use of Predator drones tells a very different story.
Despite claims from the administration that drone strikes have killed very few civilians, multiple independent reports confirm that Obama is severely downplaying the wreckage that these drone strikes inflict. It is ultimately impossible to get exact numbers, but a new study from Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute finds that the number of Pakistani civilians killed in drone strikes are “significantly and consistently underestimated” by tracking organizations which are trying to take the place of government estimates on casualties.
There are estimates as high as 98% of drone strike casualties being civilians (50 for every one “suspected terrorist”). The Bureau of Investigative Journalism issued a report detailing how the CIA is deliberately targeting those who show up after the sight of an attack, rescuers, and mourners at funerals as a part of a “double-tap” strategy eerily reminiscient of methods used by terrorist groups like Hamas.”* Jimmy Dore (The Jimmy Dore Show) and Steve Oh (COO of The Young Turks) deliver the sobering statistics of deaths directly caused by drone strikes and what part drones may play in future warfare.
*Read more from Robert Taylor/ PolicyMic:
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