Drone strikes have killed 2,371 people in Pakistan, many civilians
February 4, 2014
The chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said Americans are in danger due to a reported limit on drone strikes.
Pakistan and Amnesty International call for end to drone strikes.
Obama announced last May that the United States would move away from a “boundless global war on terror” and rollback the attacks. He reserved the authority, however, to launch drone strikes where a threat was “continuing and imminent.” Reuters characterized the modification as “nuanced” and not a significant policy change.
Rogers disagrees. “The President’s May 2013 policy changes for U.S. targeted strikes are an utter and complete failure and they leave Americans’ lives at risk,” he said prior to a hearing on terrorist threats.
“It’s been a very, very effective tool in disrupting the leadership of al Qaeda. I would be cautious about trying to shift around key assets in the government,” Rogers said of the drone program last March. “The value of this program comes from the entire set of the package, from trying to figure out who these people are, where they are, and then having the ability to do something about it.” He made the comments prior to the program being shifted from the CIA to the Pentagon.
Classified data collected by Pakistan gives detailed information on 330 drones strikes in that country since 2006. Pakistan claims the CIA-run program has killed 2,371 people. The document is unusual because it provides strike-by-strike details. The information, however, is spotty. For instance, it does not include strikes occurring in 2007 and stops recording civilian casualties after 2008.
In October Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International declared the strikes in Pakistan and Yemen to be illegal violations of international law. Some of the violations, the groups claimed, rise to the level of war crimes.
The reports followed a United Nations investigation claiming at least 33 drone strikes have resulted in civilian casualties.