White House reveals civilian death toll from drone strikes


On Friday, the Obama administration revealed that the U.S. has killed between 64 and 116 civilians and 2,500 members of terrorist groups in counterterrorism airstrikes conducted outside of active war zones. The death count is “hundreds lower than most estimates compiled by independent organizations,” The New York Times reports. The announcement, made in the spirit of greater transparency, came alongside an executive order from President Obama that will require his successors to disclose civilian death tolls annually going forward.

However, critics of the controversial war tactic say the large range in the death toll underscores the government’s uncertainty as to who exactly they’re killing in these strikes. “They’re guessing, too,” Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told The New York Times. “Theirs may be a little more educated than my guesses. But they cannot be completely accurate.”

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