President Barack Obama has launched more drone attacks in Pakistan than even the arch-warmonger George Bush, a new investigation has revealed.
The investigation report, titled “Covert Drone War,” also revealed that the terror drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.
The findings were published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a “targeted, focused effort” that “has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.”
But research found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed, including more than 60 children.
A three month investigation including eyewitness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.
Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.
There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration—averaging one every four days. Because the attacks are carried out by the CIA, no information is given on the numbers killed.
Administration officials insist that these covert attacks are legal. John Brennan, the president’s top counterterrorism adviser, argues that the US has the right to unilaterally strike terrorists anywhere in the world, not just what he called “hot battlefields.”
But some international law specialists fiercely disagree, arguing that the strikes amount to little more than state-sanctioned extra-judicial executions and questioning how the US government would react if another state such as China or Russia started taking such action against those they declare as enemies, especially if they were located inside the US.
Another study from Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute found that the number of Pakistani civilians killed in drone strikes are “significantly and consistently underestimated” by tracking organizations which are trying to take the place of government estimates on casualties.
Some estimates say that as high as 98 percent of drone strike casualties are civilians, averaging out at a rate of 50 innocent people for every one “suspected terrorist.”
Bizarrely, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, for no other reason than the fact that he was the first mixed-race president of America.