Taliban fighters speaking a Waziri dialect of Pashto call the drones bhungana -- "the one that produces a bee-like sound." Their local adversaries call them ababeel -- the name of a bird mentioned in the Quran, sent by God to defend the holy city of Mecca from an invading army by hurling small stones from its mouth.
According to a 2001 study by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the civilian-to-soldier death ratio in wars fought since the mid-20th century has been 10:1, meaning ten civilian deaths for every soldier death.
Our study shows that the 288 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, including 5 in 2012, from 2004 to the present have killed approximately between 1,741 and 2,712 individuals, of whom around 1,448 to 2,241 were described as militants in reliable press accounts. Thus, the true non-militant fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 17 percent. In 2010, it was more like five percent.
On May 6, a Central Intelligence Agency drone fired a volley of missiles at a pickup truck carrying nine militants and bomb materials through a desolate stretch of Pakistan near the Afghan border. It killed all the militants — a clean strike with no civilian casualties, extending what is now a yearlong perfect record of avoiding collateral deaths.
It would appear that drone warfare is vastly more effective than conventional warfare.
The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.
“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not accurate,” Holder said. “Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, it does not guarantee judicial process.”
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