Graphs of Death: US Drone Strikes Visualized (Pegg)

David Pegg writes at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism

These graphs accurately reflect the Bureau’s data on CIA drone strikes in Pakistan to the most recent strike.

They are designed to illustrate in the simplest possible way key statistical data from our investigation. Click on a graph to enlarge.

You are free to download and to reproduce them, provided the Bureau is credited.


A chart illustrating minimum total casualties, minimum reported civilian casualties and minimum casualties aged under 18.


This graph illustrates the minimum reported civilians killed in drone strikes year by year.


This graph shows the total number of people reportedly killed in CIA drone strikes.


This graph shows the tally of total drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 – 2012.

Mirrored from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Posted in Yemen | 7 Responses | Print |

7 Responses

  1. Putting aside the integrity of the source, it is telling that they essentially owe up the the degree of acceptable collateral damage. (Which, as everybody knows, is just a Cost of Doing Business, taken care of by sending out checks to people who place no other value on each other’s life [sic]).

    Otherwise, I wonder about the pattern. The increase going through 2010 might suggest Obama having been brought onboard to the true existential nature of the GWOT that uninitiated simply cannot get. More probably it was due to a lack of dissenting internal analysis combined with an increase in targets as more drones were brought into service.

    What’s more interesting is the decline. What could account for that decline, as there were more drones, more theatres (eg, Africa, Yemen), and more confidence in them as a proven tool?

    Again, assuming these numbers could be taken at face value.

      • The US had to suspend drone strikes for a long time after it killed two dozen Pakistani troops in December; it was Pakistani public opinion that forced the pause.

  2. Just cannot put aside how self-serving figures coming out of the CIA and the administration would be inclined to be.

    These figures would also show a pattern of civilian deaths declining in 2010 as a proportion to overall (bad guy) deaths, to the point of being practically eliminated. It begs that awkward business of how to define civilians I suppose.

    Or, maybe a Star Chamber, presided over by a Wise and Enlightened Great Leader, really is the way to go.

    • The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has gathered its own figures from FATA and NWFP

  3. This data can be understood better, once you read Drone Warfare History 101 at
    link to

    The reality is that the USA has gone thru a series of different drone strategies, starting with assassination of enemy leaders, and moving on to a current policy where it is Ok to kill 1,000 persons of military age (which includes children in many nations), as part of the strategy of getting people believed to be leaders of our enemies.

  4. Factoring out a lull for the first 3 months of ’12, we’d be on-pace to matching total deaths for ’11….a leveling off, implying possibly a budget/allowance of some sort…this is consistent with how the metrics-driven people now running things think and act.

    Assuming these best case #’s, there is a steep decrease in the proportion of civilian casualties, possibly due to closer management of drone usage. Gotta be careful or we’ll think there are responsible adults managing things.

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