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- Written by Eman Jueid
- Category: World News
Despite their reportedly extreme accuracy and precision, drone strikes often kill more civilians than “militants.” Low estimates indicate that at least 700 civilians are likely to have died from the recent attacks.
Reports even reveal that some drone strikes deliberately target mourners and rescuers of previous attacks. “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.”
Mainly because of the lack of thorough media coverage, many Americans fail to understand who the militants are, how big of a threat they actually pose to the United States, and whether the civilian casualties are even worth the militant exterminations.
Existing media coverage almost always portrays the victims of the drone attacks as numbers and labels. Much of it simply states that a certain number of “militants” or “civilians” were killed by attacks, so American audiences have little sympathy for victims, whether they are militants or civilians.
Without connecting faces and human emotions to the numbers represented, media coverage does not portray the human cost of the drone attacks. Rather than humanizing the victims, media often focuses on the anti-American sentiment that is created as a result of the attacks, and portrays an image of a nation that unreasonably hates the United States.
When deaths by a drone attack are reported, the people killed are already labeled as either “militant” or “civilian,” without question as to who they may actually be. A senior Pakistani official says that the drone attacks are increasingly killing “mere foot soldiers” rather than “militants” who can actually harm the US in any way, and he urges Americans “to find better targets” and “do it more sparingly”
Peter Bergen, a director at The New America Foundation, notes that 94 percent of the militants killed by drone attacks are lower level militants.
“I think it's hard to make the case that the 94 percent cohort threaten the United States in some way,” he said. “There's been very little focus on that question from a human rights perspective. Targeted killings are about leaders - it shouldn't be a blanket dispensation.”
The drone war is, at some level, a blanket dispensation. It assumes that there will be collateral damage and only by making the American public numb to these casualties is has been able to continue without resistance for so many years.By Sehar Mughal, Aslan Media Contributor