Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mr. Droney

(Editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman / Sacramento Bee (February 14, 2013) and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge and then please return.)

As I mentioned last week, President Obama's use of armed drones has had some unintended consequences, but all our senators were interested in talking about was their use against American citizens without some kind of check.  This week, the United Nations has decided to have a look-see and has issued a report on civilian deaths in Afghanistan caused by the use of drones.

The number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan jumped 72 percent in 2012, killing at least 16 civilians in a sharp increase from the previous year, the U.N. said Tuesday in a sign of the changing mission as international forces prepare to withdraw combat forces in less than two years. ...

The U.N. mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said 506 weapons were released by drones last year, compared with 294 in 2011. Five incidents resulted in casualties last year, with 16 civilians killed and three wounded, up from just one incident in 2011.

Even as drone attacks increased, the U.N. reported an overall decrease in civilian deaths by airstrikes with the U.S.-led coalition implementing stricter measures to prevent innocent people from being killed.

The U.N. said most of the civilian casualties from drone strikes appear to be the result of weapons aimed directly at insurgents but some may have been targeting errors.

It called for a review of tactical and operational policy on targeting to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law "with the expansion of the use of unmanned combat aerial vehicles" in Afghanistan. Drones are highly effective but have strained relations between the U.S. and Pakistan as well as other nations where the strikes are carried out because civilians are sometimes killed alongside targeted terrorists.    [Emphasis added]

Of course, we don't need no steenkin' interational humanitarian law.  We're the USA! USA! USA!

Also, of course, we are setting ourselves up for decades of retribution from those countries and/or groups who don't take kindly to being bombed from the sky at the whim and whimsy of our leaders.

And, also, of course, some of us don't particularly like the domestic use of drones for "surveillance".  Even those of us who are law-abiding find that a nasty attack on our right to privacy.

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