Report: Civilians Bear the Brunt of Drone Attacks

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A US Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport on June 13, 2010. (Getty)

The CIA drone program in Pakistan has targeted and killed more low-level militants than senior commanders, according to a new report (pdf) by Stanford University and New York University. The drone program, according to the report, traumatizes communities in Northwest Pakistan and results in civilian deaths and injuries.

The United States government does not acknowledge, nor can they confirm, that civilians have killed in drone attacks. In addition, first responders and many locals tend to wait several hours before going to the scene of a drone strike to help the wounded, for fear of a second strike following.

Clive Stafford Smith is the founder and director of Reprieve, a nonprofit organization based in the United Kingdom that sponsored the report.   


Clive Stafford Smith

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [4]

John A

Thank-You for your reporting. To recap, we're talking about the US government killing civilians outside a declaration of war, IE doubly illegal. The estimate of count of these deaths ranges around Five Hundred. There is a line in this particular report that there are 50 civilian deaths for each legitimate One. If our government killed 50 of Us it would be shut down in congressional investigations for a year. This imbalance of justice pains me.

Sep. 26 2012 11:48 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Drone Program is a perfect name... Most Americans don't want to acknowledge that we are traumatizing people and potentially creating a bigger enemy. I don't really like to think about it myself and would rather drone it out.

Sep. 25 2012 10:05 AM

Just imagine how this story would be covered, by the NYT/Public Radio/MSNBC/New Yorker axis, if we had a Republican president.

We actually have a very good idea, by comparison.

Take SEAL Team Six. During the Bush Administration years, Seymour Hersh, writing in the New Yorker, called out SEAL Team Six as Vice President Cheney's "Executive Assasination Team." The special operators were discussed in terms if gross illegality and war crimes.

When the same unit (or its brethren) assisinated Osama bin Laden, the press -- all the press -- hailed the operation as a national success story, we now have Joe Biden shouting at political rallies, "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!" And the left-leaning press utters not one peep of protest or doubt. In fact, bin Laden was assasinated, by "Dick Cheney's executive assisination team," and the General Motors of the previous century is gone, having been put through bankruptcy (rightly, for the most part) by the Obama Administration.

"Surreal" is the word best describing the experience of listening to public radio is sometimes.

Sep. 25 2012 09:38 AM

Looks like "The Takeaway" is expecting Romney to win. Obama has been drone killing his whole time in office - and brags about it. After all Al Qaeda's number 2 was taken out in a drone strike, which is frequently brought up on the campaign trail. We constantly hear Bin Laden (I know he wasn't droned) is dead. I suspect all this braggadocio over killing would be more frowned upon if a Republican were in office. That it is even being raised as a topic leads me to suspect Obama's days in office are numbered.

Sep. 25 2012 08:20 AM

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