Numbers in Obama’s Drone Deaths Report Just Don’t Add Up:
More than three years after President Barack Obama pledged to be transparent about the United States’ lethal drone program, his administration has finally come forward with an accounting of the numbers of civilian deaths that resulted from drone strikes between Jan. 20, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2015. But they only cover airstrikes “outside areas of active hostilities,” which encompasses Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. Civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are not included in the report.
As expected, the administration’s numbers are significantly lower than tallies documented by leading nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, New America and The Long War Journal….
The DNI report omits significant details that would enable the public to fully assess its claims, including the locations, dates, numbers and names of both civilians and combatants killed in each airstrike. Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The Washington Post that releasing raw numbers without explanation “leaves reason to remain skeptical of the government’s claims. You can’t grade your own homework.”
There is good reason to distrust the DNI’s claimed numbers of civilian casualties. “Every previous (rare) public, on-record statement made by the Obama administration on the program has been shown to be false or deeply misleading,” the international human rights organization Reprieve noted in a recent report.
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