U.S. Has Only Acknowledged A Fifth of Its Lethal Strikes, New Study Finds

Hussain, Murtaza

Publisher:  The Intercept
Date Written:  13/06/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21125

While Obama took steps to improve transparency about drone strikes, reports show that the U.S. has only acknowledged approximately 20 percent of its reported drone strikes, and failed to claim responsibility or provide details in the vast majority of cases.



The estimated number of civilians killed in U.S. drone strikes varies widely, with some independent estimates recording hundreds of civilian deaths, while the U.S. government often claims that figures run only into the dozens. The U.S. military has also been criticized for policies like "signature strikes," in which individuals have been killed based on their status as "military-age males" in areas where U.S. drones are operating. These policies are alleged to be responsible for cases in which weddings, funerals, and other communal gatherings have been bombed in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.

"There is a difference in how Western civilians are treated versus non-Western civilians," Moorehead said. "Of all the civilians who have been killed in these strikes, only the two Westerners who were killed in a 2016 strike have ever received any formal acknowledgement, apology, and compensation from the government."

Locals in Yemen have alleged that, in recent months, drone strikes carried out by the Trump administration killed civilians on numerous occasions. One strike reported last month in Yemen's Shabwah Province allegedly targeted a car full of men with no existing links to terrorist groups, as well as several innocent bystanders. Despite such incidents, Trump has promised measures that would further loosen targeting standards for drone operators, likely putting civilians in even greater danger. Many Yemenis say that the anger and grief inflicted by these strikes is outweighing any perceived counterterrorism benefit -- and even driving some local people into the arms of Al Qaeda.
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