Friday, December 28, 2012

The Problem with Secret Drone War

The Problem with Secret Drone War:
passive voice did itForeign Policy
an “air attack gone wrong”:
Quoting unnamed Yemeni officials, local
and international
initially described the victims of the Sept. 2
airstrike in al-Bayda governorate as al Qaeda militants. After
relatives of the victims threatened to bring the charred bodies to
the president, Yemen's official news agency issued a brief
statement admitting the awful truth: The strike was an "accident"
that killed 12 civilians. Three were children.

Nearly four months later, that terse admission remains the only
official word on the botched attack. A Washington
 article, published on Dec. 24, reports
 "U.S. officials in Washington, who spoke on
the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the
matter, said it was a Defense Department aircraft, either a drone
or a fixed-wing airplane, that fired" on the vehicle. But the
people of al-Bayda still have received no official word as to who
was responsible for the deaths -- the United States, which in the
past year has accelerated its covert targeted-killing program
against Yemeni-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; or the
Yemeni government, whose new president, Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi,
was installed with Washington's help.
There have been
more than 116 drone strikes
in Yemen since May of last year.
The president only acknowledged military operations in Yemen

in June
. The lack of acknowledgement didn’t stop the CIA from
expanded authority
to kill
a few months prior.
h/t to Anthony Shaffer for the link, who adds on Facebook: “The
kill with no capture [policy] is distracting from going after the
re-emerging terrorist networks - this sort of thing actually gives
them time and an additional pool of likely targets to recruit from
- by killing innocents like this we have potentially made their
surviving family into, at minimum, supporters of the
Update: Our own Matt Welch highlighted this
earlier today