Tue Jun 19, 2012, 06:54 AM
xchrom (108,893 posts)
Obama Administration's Drone Death Figures Don't Add Up
Obama officials generally do not comment by name on the drone strikes in Pakistan, but they frequently talk about it to reporters (including us) on condition of anonymity. Often those anonymously sourced comments have come in response to outside tallies of civilian deaths from drone attacks, which are generally much higher than the administration's own figures.
The outright contradiction we noted above comes from two claims made about a year apart:
April 22, 2011 McClatchy reports that U.S. officials claim "about 30" civilians died in the year between August 2009 and August 2010.
May 29, 2012 The New York Times reports that, according to a senior Obama administration official, the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under president Obama is in the "single digits." As we also show in our "single digits." As we also show in our "single digits." As we also show in our "single digits." As we also show in our "single digits." As we also show in our "single digits." As we also show in our interactive graphic, other anonymous administration claims about civilian deaths are possible but imply conclusions that seem improbable.
April 26, 2010 The Washington Post quotes an "internal CIA accounting" saying that "just over 20 civilians" have been killed by drones in Pakistan since January 2009.
Aug. 11, 2011 The New York Times reports that CIA officers claim zero civilians were killed since May 2010
Aug. 12, 2011 CNN quoted a U.S. official saying there were 50 civilians killed over the years in drone strikes in Pakistan.
If this set of claims is assumed to be accurate, it suggests that the majority of the 50 total civilian deaths occurred during the Bush administration — when the drone program was still in its infancy. As we've noted, in the entire Bush administration, there were 44 strikes. In the Obama administration through Aug. 12, 2011, there were 222. So according to this set of claims more civilians died in just 44 strikes under Bush than did in 222 strikes under Obama. (Again, the graphic is helpful to assess the administration assertions.)
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