Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International Release Drone Reports on Civilian Toll

Undated handout image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. The U.S. government has authorized the killing of American citizens as part of its controversial drone campaign against al Qaeda even without intelligence that such Americans are actively plotting to attack a U.S. target, according to a Justice Department memo.
Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force/ReutersHANDOUT/Corbis? Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Because the domestic discussion of drone warfare often exists only in the abstract, two new reports are attempting to zoom in for impact. Released today, Amnesty International’s account examines the 45 strikes in Pakistan’s North Waziristan between January 2012 and August 2013, in which at least nineteen civilians, including a 68-year-old woman picking vegetables with her grandchildren, were killed. (“We collected as many different parts from the field and wrapped them in a cloth,” said the woman’s 8-year-old granddaughter.)

Human Rights Watch looks at six specific targeted killings in Yemen, including one that killed a young man’s mother, father, and 10-year-old sister, whose bodies “were charred like coal.”

In Miram Shah, Pakistan, where there have been at least thirteen strikes since 2008, sales of sleeping pills, antidepressants, anxiety medication, and an erectile dysfunction medication called Rocket have soared, the New York Times reports. “The drones are like the angels of death,” said a local shopkeeper. “Only they know when and where they will strike.”


New Drone Reports Focus on Civilian Toll