Tag Archives: UAV

I worked on the U.S. Drone Program–here’s what really happens

I worked on the U.S. Drone Program–here’s what really happens

“What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: ‘The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?’ I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.”

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The empathy gap: from the Iraq war to drone warfare

The empathy gap: from the Iraq war to drone warfare

“What is striking to me about the drone debate and the consideration of civilian casualties in Iraq is the pattern of attention. The infamous line of General Tommie Franks, “we don’t do body counts” (regarding, in that instance, Afghanistan, but equally applicable to Iraq), signaled a stubborn resistance on the part of the military to provide an account of the human cost of the war. The U.S. government was opaque, not only with regard to individual incidents, like the Haditha massacre, but about the overall picture of human insecurity in Iraq. When violence against civilians was discussed, it was typically attributed to Iraqis themselves, a ‘blaming-the-victim’ convenience. No statistical account was pursued by the government. The same has been true of drones, in which the program remains unacknowledged or at least not discussed officially, civilian ‘collateral damage’ denied, and an implicit attribution of blame to the ‘terrorists’ being targeted.”

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How does the global war on terror ever end?

How does the global war on terror ever end?

“Obama’s counterterrorism team had developed what was referred to as the ‘Disposition Matrix,’ a database full of information on suspected terrorists and militants that would provide options for killing or capturing targets. Senior administration officials predicted that the targeted killing program would persist for ‘at least another decade.’ During his first term in office, the Washington Post concluded, “’Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.’”

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