CIA Drone Strikes on Pakistan: Infographic (Leo)

Sarah Leo writes at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

The Bureau has been recording every reported CIA drone strike in Pakistan. The result is our extensive database which details every known attack and the numbers killed in a covert war that has been bitterly fought since 2004.

Our detailed analysis has found that 344 strikes have killed between 2,562 and 3,325. This number includes at least 474 civilians – though the true figure maybe as high as 881.
So just what do we know? Rather than ask you to sift through thousands of lines of data, we’ve done the hard work for you – and these are the facts we’ve found:



Mirrored from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Responses | Print |

12 Responses

  1. And the American public does not care in the slightest. As long as the American people feel safe, can do their shopping and watch baseball, their government can do whatever pleases it wherever in the world. Including murder.

    • Baseball? Who the heck watches baseball? Oh, there are baseball fans, but they tend to be more statistically-driven types – the kind who like pie charts on various topics, drone strikes for instance. Football is where the vicarious thrill of warfare lies – and is far more consistent a juxtaposition, methinks. Sorry to pick your nits.

  2. “And the American public does not care in the slightest. As long as the American people feel safe, can do their shopping and watch baseball, their government can do whatever pleases it wherever in the world. Including murder.”

    It is unfortunate that drone strikes have killed innocents, but the majority of the strikes have been on target, killing unlawful enemy combatants who mean to do as much harm as they can to the U.S. The strikes are perfectly justified under the right of self defense.

    • What if drone strikes were launched against the Irish Republican Army, Basque separatists, or American-based militia groups?

      Would the “right of self-defense” apply? Or would there be anticipated political outrage that would prevent the Obama administration from even considering such nonsense?

      What if the Cuban government conducted drone strikes against the Miami-area headquarters of the various anti-Castro militant exile groups that have been involved in raids and other provocative actions against the Castro regime for the last approximately 50 years? What if innocent American citizen bystanders were killed or maimed by those missile attacks? Would the U.S. accept the argument of Cuba that they were engaging in a “right of self-defense”? Of course not. Such an argument would be ludicrous. What if the Cubans labeled the deaths of innocents as “unfortunate”? What if the Cuban national assembly had passed an “AUMF” (authorization of use of military force) as the United States Congress has done previously to authorize drone attacks against Al-Qaeda? Would those acts satisfy Americans that drone attacks against U.S. targets were appropriate? Again, of course not on both counts.

      There is no legal basis in international law for drone strikes as described above. Amnesty International has condemned the practice. It is a form of extrajudicial killing. It is, in short, murder carried out by the Executive Branch of the U.S. government akin to the “Executive Action” covert program carried out by the CIA in the 1950s through 1970s that resulted in President Ford issuing an executive order forbidding the intentional killing of foreign leaders.

    • Even the majority of the strikes have been on target, killing unlawful enemy combatants who mean to do as much harm as they can to the U.S. understates the case.

      The sum total of all of the civilians killed in over a decade of drone strikes is a fraction of those killed by al Qaeda in just one day in September 2001. The embassy bombings killed over 200 civilians in one day. So did the Bali bombing.

      Because of the drone strikes and the other efforts to disrupt and destory al Qaeda, the organization has been rendered almost completely incapable of carrying out further attacks. They try, such as the effort to murder over 200 civilians in an airplane one Christmas, but due to the war being waged against them, they are a shadow of their former self.

      The erosion of al Qaeda’s capacity to slaughter civilians has saved countless lives. A reckoning of the cost of American policy towards al Qaeda should take into account the cost of doing nothing.

      • And maybe that careful accounting should also reckon the cost of US “policies” and actions, including killing civilians who have families and clans and tribes that for some reason get pissed off and sorrowful when “we” or the sneaks who kill in “our” names do one of those “oopsies,” and but for “our policies” would have zero reason to take up arms and do stuff like “blue-on-green” and all that.

        Even the conservative “policy” people know that their actions are great recruiting tools for militancy and revenge. And a cynical person whose interests lie in keeping the Forever War going might actually look forward to a lot of “bugsplat,” and the inevitable and predictable reactions from the Wogs, as a way to justify, to the rubes who pay for all of this, the “neeeeed” to keep doing More Of The Same. Spending trillions to swat mosquitoes, on the notion that if “we” don’t keep doing it, “we” will be destroyed by Those Who Hate Us And Our Freedom tm(sic).

        Like one of my favorite jokes:

        A guy is walking in Times Square with an elephant gun under his arm. Cop says to him “What the heck do you think you are doing, carrying an elephant gun around Times Square?” Guy says, “Keeping the wild elephants away!” Cop says “There’s not a wild elephant within 5,000 miles of here, buster!” Says the smug fella, “SEE? It works!”

        Causation, again?

        And who said anything about what you refer to as “doing nothing?” Effective law enforcement is doing plenty. What a surprise that the vast majority of would-be attacks by what we hardly call “terrorists” any more, since some of them are White Boys, are intercepted by simple police activity (and many of those are FOMENTED by police agents provacateur doing what used to be called “entrapment.” And that it appears in recent bits from Bush presidential security briefings prior to that telling monkey-grin in that Texas classroom on 9-11, that the stuff to have intercepted the whole 9-11 plot was right there before the guys who told the bin Laden desk at the CIA to “stand down” because Georgie and Dickie no longer were concerned about him. It seems pretty clear that the sum of US “policies” toward hegemony and empire and all that are just sowing dragon’s teeth, making a few people rich, corrupting politics and business at home and abroad, and doing less of what “we” are doing might actually result in some significant improvements in our way of life.

        Do you assume, along with the Narrative, that there is a “they” called “al Quaeda” that is as organized as “we” like to believe “they” are? A kind of Wendy’s franchise deal, spreading across the globe? All them Muslims all lined up to take a turn at “slaughtering civilians?” As if the actions of “conservatives” on all sides, and of course what used to be excoriated as Anarchist Bomb Throwers pursuing the Propaganda of the Deed, all through history, are not simply represented as somehow New and Different, in what’s reported as Current Affairs?

        Sure seems like our CIA-contractor-Special Ops great Hellfire-and-damnation “successes,” in Pashtun-land and elsewhere, killing a few Wogs many of whom turn out to be inoffensive plain folks, are not only wasted energy but downright idiotic if the nominal goal is “increased security.” But of course it don’t appear that’s the goal, at all…

  3. Wow. So nearly 1000 admitted murders of innocent civilians and some commenters are still satisfied with the alleged idea that the “majority” of the strikes have been on target. This infographic appears to largely take the US military at their word — despite numerous times that the US has been caught purposely um… “disinforming” and simply illustrates what the facts would be even if every kill ratio was *as reported*. This is U.S. vengeful terrorism — a continuation of a decades-long cycle — plain and simple. The 9/11 terrorists could have posted an infographic alleging that the majority of the people in the World Trade Center were somehow complicit in US policies and I suppose the previous poster would have been satisfied that “a majority” were reasonable murders acceptable by standards of “self defense” – since that is, indeed, what the communiques said.

  4. Regardless of the guilt or innocence of the targets, stating that “The strikes are perfectly justified under the right of self defense” ignores significant issues related to sovereignty, the nature of this war, and any war fought between a government and an international non-state actor. Would India be within its right of self-defense to drone an American in Hawaii if India had reliable intelligence that the American helped plan the Mumbai attacks?

    At what point does one draw the line between war, terrorism, and diplomacy? Would it be within the right of self-defense for the U.S. to drone a problematic Afghani politician if he were making it harder for U.S. troops to conduct night-raids, resulting in a marked increase in troop casualties?

    Such disregard for the questions raised by this model of warfare is frightening to say the least. Unmanned drones exacerbate problems that already exist in the War on Terror, as they allow the military to conduct more brazen operations without any fear of potential American deaths.

  5. One question that begs to be asked is what level of proof is needed before one gets put on the “hit list”?

    Remember the FBI’s sedition case in the federal court in Detroit recently against the Hutaree, a Michigan militia group that Attorney General Eric Holder had announced was dangerous? The conspiracy indictment led to numerous members being detained in federal prison awaiting trial for many months without bail.

    When the case finally went to jury trial, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, upon the U.S. Attorney resting her case, ordered acquittals on the conspiracy counts. All defendants were released.

    How many drone victims that were appproved for killing were put on a hit list based on faulty intelligence? With the history of CIA reliance on the infamous “Curveball” Iraq informant and other dubious characters it is conceivable that innocent persons could be targeted and killed extrajudicially based upon non-existent facts.

    That scenario is legally and morally unacceptable.

    • Speaking of innocent persons, was it in Somalia that one local druglord/warlord, beloved of our local CIA for the usual spurious murky reasons, fingered one of his competitors (with actually no ties and as I recall active antipathy to the kind of “terrorism” that supposedly is our target) as being an “al Quaeda, and the CIA obligingly “took him out?” Oh, well — fog of war and all that.

      “Legal” and “moral” have nothing to do with any of this — just noises to be used post-hoc to “justify” what has to be a kind of fun game for the guys behind the screens, twiddling their joysticks…

  6. People who support the drone attacks will never know the feeling of losing a loved one and their innocent children caused by a single attack. Even though these Waziristan people are uneducated and poor, these people deserve their human rights.

    • Agreed, but until Waziristanis hire lobbyists in Washington and have their relatives residing in America donate to the campaign committees of national political candidates, there is little practical pressing need for the U.S. government to fret over such mundane and trivial matters as “human rights”.

      No accountability means no reason for the U.S. intelligence community to cease its extrajudicial killings.

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