from Politics, Power, and Preventive Action and Center for Preventive Action

U.S. Drones: The Counterinsurgency Air Force for Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia

November 27, 2012

The RQ-4A Global Hawk at a forward-deployed location (Staff Sgt. Reynaldo Ramon ME/Courtesy Reuters).
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This past Sunday, Scott Shane of the New York Times reported that the U.S. presidential election spurred the Obama administration to develop and formalize a set of explicit rules to govern the U.S. targeted killings program. Each time that Obama administration officials leak information about a new process (how to make kill lists) or phrase (Disposition Matrix) that supports U.S. targeted killings, Americans are once again reminded of the Long Third War, which has resulted in the deaths of over three thousand individuals outside of battlefield settings. It is remarkable how certain pundits are still shocked by the scope and depth of targeted killings that the United States has carried out for over a decade—albeit most vigorously in the past four years under the guidance of John Brennan and authorized by President Obama.

Whenever such stories are published about some purportedly new aspect of the U.S. targeted killings program, I receive many calls from reporters seeking clarification, context, or just a line for their story. Yesterday, I was fortunate to speak with Justin Elliot of ProPublica (who has done some excellent reporting on drone strikes and civilian casualties) for a question and answer session that expands on my comment in the New York Times: “We don’t say that we’re the counterinsurgency air force of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, but we are.”

To learn more, please read the full piece: “Have U.S. Drones Become a ‘Counterinsurgency Air Force’ for Our Allies?