US Air Force ground crew in Kandahar secure weapons to an MQ-9 Reaper drone after its return from a mission. Photograph: Reuters
Nancy A. Youssef and Shane Harris, Daily Beast: Obama Will Finally Own Up to Drone War Dead
The White House is finally releasing figures about how many innocents have died in U.S. drone attacks. But the claim of only 100 or so civilians slain seems almost laughably low.
President Obama is expected to issue an executive order as early as next week that for the first time would call for the United States to annually disclose how many civilians it believes it has killed in its airstrikes against terrorists around the world, The Daily Beast has learned.
The administration will announce that since Jan. 20, 2009, it believes airstrikes have killed roughly 100 civilians in countries including Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, and Somalia, according to one defense official. It’s a figure many advocacy groups are likely to see as too low to be credible. Most independent estimates as closer to 1,000.
The order is intended to shed light on the U.S. effort to minimize civilian casualties, amid numerous claims that a 1,000 or more innocents have been killed. But the suggestion that only 100 have died from the thousands of U.S. strikes could reignite debate about whether the U.S. actually knows who it’s killing through its furtive air war.
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WNU Editor: If they are claiming that only 100 or so civilians have been killed from U.S. drone strikes .... I can hear the guffaws right now.