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US drones target civilians

Ahmed Elbassiouny

June 21, 2013

With the continuous, intense "war on terrorism," drone strikes have killed civilians and caused grave violations.  
The United States has been relying on drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The number of drone strikes has significantly increased ever since president Obama was elected in 2009, peaking in 2010. The numbers increased from 1-2 per year to around 150 strikes in 2010, as the US tried to recover from the quagmire in Iraq by swtiching to most "efficient" warfare. 
Hidden attacks
The discovery of secret drone programs make It appear like the White House does not really believe in the legality of drones. It was not until this year that the drone base in Saudi Arabia was discovered, which for two years was used to carry out secret drone strikes in Yemen. Despite claims of an "efficient" way of "fighting terrorism", drones killed many civilians. 
Drones in Pakistan
Pakistan is another country that has been suffering from drone strikes. According to some statistics, over 100 drone strikes were reported in Pakistan in 2010 alone. Even though 2010 seemed to be the peak of drone attacks of the decade, drone strikes are still reported until this day. Since 2004, 3,129 people were killed in Pakistan due to drones alone. Less than 2 per cent of those deaths were high profile targets while the rest are civilians including children.
To the newly forming Pakistani government, drone strike are a big barrier to any developmental plans. Dr. Shireen Mazari, Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaaf’s leader thinks drone strikes are great threat to the country’s integrity and stability. However, Mazari suggests “talking it out” with the American administration rather than using the “threatening” approach. Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s advisor, said that the subject has to be brought up with the American administration and described the drone strikes as a threat to peace between the two countries and a disrespectful act to international laws. 
War of terrorism 
Drone proponents claim the drones were "successful" at targeting Wali-ur-Rehman, the Taliban’s second in command. But drones do not fight terrorism, they are terrorism--leaving behind many injured and dead civilians. Drones have been a nightmare to Pakistanis, causing panic and instability in the area, which is a source of backlash.
After the mass movement against the Iraq War, including opposition from ordinary soldiers, drones are an attempt to maintain US imperial control while minimizing opposition or even knowledge from ordinary Americans. But people are increasingly speaking out, including drone operator Brandon Bryant who suffers from PTSD for his role in drone killings.


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