Obama Has Killed More People with Drones than Died On 9/11

Many Civilians Are Being Killed By Drones

Law school teacher Marjorie Cohn – president of the National Lawyers Guild – writes:

Obama has killed more people with drones than died on 9/11. Many of those killed were civilians, and only a tiny percentage of the dead were al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders.

She may be right …

The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that U.S. drone strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan have killed 3,674 people.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that up to 4,404 people have been killed – just in Pakistan and Yemen alone – between 2004 and 2014.

While it’s hard to estimate how many additional people have been killed by drone in Iraq and Afghanistan, a December 2012 report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that US and UK forces had carried out over 1,000 drone strikes in Afghanistan over the previous five years.  Given that numerous people are often killed by  each drone strike, it is reasonable to assume that several thousand people have been killed by drone in that country.

And many Iraqis have also been killed by drones … long before ISIS even appeared on the scene.    So – altogether – the number of people killed by drone is probably well above five thousand.

In contrast,  under 3,000 people were killed on 9/11.

But aren’t drone strikes targeted attacks on terrorists … unlike 9/11, which was an attack on civilians?

Unfortunately, no …

The West is intentionally targeting farmers, small-time drug dealers and very low-level Taliban members with drone assassination.

And the process for deciding who to put on the “kill list” is flawed.     People are often targeted by the metadata on their phones, a process which a former top NSA official called the drone assassination program “undisciplined slaughter.”

And people are targeted for insanely loose reasons.  As the New York Times reported in 2012:

Mr. Obama had approved not only “personality” strikes aimed at named, high-value terrorists, but “signature” strikes that targeted training camps and suspicious compounds in areas controlled by militants.

But some State Department officials have complained to the White House that the criteria used by the C.I.A. for identifying a terrorist “signature” were too lax. The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp, said one senior official. Men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers — but they might also be farmers, skeptics argued.

And then there are “double taps” … where the family members, friends or neighbors who try to rescue someone hit by a drone missile are themselves targeted for assassination.

And – even when the West is actually targeting high-level terrorists – there is massive slaughter of innocent civilians as “collateral damage”.  For example, American University Professor Jeff Bachman reports:

Strikes focused on the Kill List “killed on average 28 other people before they actually succeeded in killing their target.”

The Brookings Institution also noted the high proportion of civilian deaths in 2009:

Critics correctly find many problems with this program, most of all the number of civilian casualties the strikes have incurred. Sourcing on civilian deaths is weak and the numbers are often exaggerated, but more than 600 civilians are likely to have died from the attacks. That number suggests that for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died.

The Costs of War Project – a nonpartisan, nonprofit, scholarly initiative based at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies – notes:

In Iraq, over 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence have been civilians.

(Civilians usually suffer the most casualties.)

No wonder people all over the world are overwhelmingly opposed to drone strikes.

Indeed, even the CIA admits that the drone program might be counter-productive in fighting terrorism.

And the architect of America’s drone assassination program says it’s gone too far … creating terrorists rather than eliminating them.

Notes:  Obama has used drone strikes much more than Bush:

Obama has increased the number of drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Indeed, most people who have looked at the numbers believe that Obama has killed many more civilians with drone attacks than Bush did using the same method.

The former constitutional law teacher may or may not know that drone attacks are a war crime (more here and here).

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  • clarioncaller

    And let’s not forget the collateral damage caused by ‘depleted uranium’ munitions.

    • truth

      And economic terrorism by Sanctions.

  • Kansas Bright

    No, Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild and a of the people, your focus is on the wrong thing.

    Here the US Constitution is the SUPREME LAW of THIS land, and ALL laws MUST be in Pursuance thereof it. As the HIGHEST LAW THAT ALL LAWS MUST FOLLOW you are not allowed in this nation to ignore it and NOT enforce it.

    There is no such thing here in the USA as “assassination powers”. It is First Degree Murder being committed by ALL involved. The fact that you are trying to deflect attention away from those facts of our nation and OUR type of Constitutional Republic tells me you either went to a progressive (but lets call it what it rally is “communist” school, or you are assisting in trying to destroy the USA from within which is treason.

    One more time, there is no such thing here in the USA as “assassination powers”, it is under our laws First Degree Murder. Why are you not working to take this person and everyone involved doing First Degree Murder in our name, using our money to court for prosecution, and that includes those “judges” of the secret court which we also do not LAWFULLY have here. Color of law (for the uninitiated PRETEND LAWS made by a person who under the guise of having the power, but was NEVER given that authority created them.

    It is also *terrorism: 28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

    If you don’t think using false assassination powers is doing exactly that, think again. Here under our LEGITIMATE government there is no such thing, so it is doing exactly that.

    “Lawful”: in accordance with the law of the land; according to the law; permitted, sanctioned, or justified by law. Black’s Law Dictionary: Conforming to the law; according to law; required or permitted by law; not forbidden or discountenanced by law; good and effectual in law. Lawful pursuit for justice or decision under the law…

    “Legal”: the “color of law”, “appearance of law”, “pretense of law without the substance of lawfulness”,
    “misuse of power made possible only because wrongdoer is clothed with authority of state”.
    When in accordance with the law of the land; permitted, sanctioned, or justified by law. Black’s Law Dictionary: Conforming to the law; according to law; required or permitted by law; not forbidden or discountenanced by law; good and effectual in law.

    It just really ticks me off when a person who should know the supreme law of our land ignores it as if it does not exist. It does, and the people are getting really tired of those who are supposed to know our laws use foreign and “color of law” laws as if they were real and binding on the American people, they are not.

    • Dixie fan

      One of the best posts I’ve read on any topic. Well done!

  • Party Like 1999 BC

    “Folks got killed”
    Obama’s nazis in Ukraine have killed more Russians than died in 9-11…
    Same goes for Syria and Libya.
    But stocks are back in the GREEN today! Smile everyone!

  • Cameron

    The greatest crime of all has been committed by the American people themselves: electing these war criminals, Clinton, two Bushes and Obama in the first place. And the strong possibility that a Bush or Clinton will be elected president in the next “go-round” speaks to the guilt and imbecility of the electorate.

    • nsa

      Remember its not the voters that decide who wins, its the people that count the votes. I’ve only met a handful of Pro-Obama people out of the thousands i talk to… We do not want Obama, Or Bush or Clinton

      • AlwaysPrepared

        @nsa: Oh get real. And it isn’t the imbecility of the electorate, it’s the money backing the campaigns. Regardless of what anyone says, the elections in this country are indirectly bought by inundating the electorate with misleading and downright deceitful ads. It’s nearly impossible to know what’s true and what’s not. And war criminals? Really? The attacks brought on these actions. They’re no more war criminals than someone shooting an armed intruder in their home. F with America and you have no one to blame but yourself. If people in your country are bringing the brunt of American’s military to bear against you and yours, I reckon it’s time to rise up against those people alongside the Americans. Oversimplified, I know, but that’s essentially it.

    • Marcus S. Whitelock

      George Bush wasn’t a criminal dumbass!

    • Dee Capybara

      Reagan too who was the start of all this war obsession

  • Joffan

    I’m looking round for the article on health care – you know, the number of uninsured people – there was a Gallup survey just published and I was thinking you’d be making some commentary like you did before. Although, of course, that was when the numbers didn’t look all that great… maybe you only discuss things that are in accord with your prejudices….

  • Matthew Terwilliger

    Ron paul never sounded so good. This makes me sick!

  • Dixie fan

    About a year ago I saw a chart that showed the number of civilians killed by drone attacks as compared to actual suspected terrorists. I’d be grateful if anyone could send the link, I can’t seem to find it. Thanks!

  • 46nd2

    Architects and engineers for 9/11Truth.
    http://www.ae911truth org/

    AE9/11 Truth On C-SPAN

  • LEGOates

    “… protected fiefdoms of vested interests–public unions… ” What the ever lovin’, bald-headed Christ?! Lovely to see you’ve finally seen the light according to FOX news corp and the rest in recognising that the problem, as in Greece, isn’t the banksters and that lot, but that much of the real problem lies with those oh-so-weathly public sector employees and their unions. After all, it isn’t that 99% of the private sector working class is criminally underpaid, no indeed, the outrage is that ANY of the proles should earn a living wage and have access to halfway decent healthcare.
    Seriously, fuck you ever so much.

  • Darkwing

    And the 1,000,000 civilians that died because of Bush carpet bombing in the 2000’s

  • AlwaysPrepared

    Unfortunate, but who put us in that position? The terrorists did. Yes, some innocents die in these strikes, but EVERYONE killed in the 9/11 strikes (other that the terrorists) was innocent. Apples and oranges.

  • Revisionist

    Then we have jesse ventura michael moore and seth rogen calling chris Kyle are coward. ..go to those facebook pages and support chris Kyle ..Kyle did 4 tours of duty he deserves more than these ass holes

  • Mike

    Good! Who cares. The world will never be safe amd peaceful until all muslim terrorists are dead!.period!


    Never forget the United States can crush you! Simple don’t bite the hand that feeds you!


    That is right quit accepting American money or shut up and do what you are told!

  • Fiona Mackenzie

    People are so childlike. The idea of killing targeted leaders and sometimes people around them–identifiable targets–has even war hawks up in arms. It’s different, isn’t it, when you have to acknowledge that you kill PEOPLE–so much more comfortable just to bomb cities and towns filled with faceless residents. If it makes you squeamish to kill people, maybe you should re-think your enthusiasm for war.

  • Fiona Mackenzie

    You do realize, do you not, that the “comparison” of number of victims killed in a terrorist attack and the number of people killed in the ensuing war or part of it is illogical, strictly emotional, right? Irrational as an argument against drones, which should be compared to deaths, including collateral deaths, in conventional war.

  • smart man

    Wot the fuck!its a fucked up world.makes me sad for everyone!!!!bolocks.

  • John Jane Doh

    It is the big bankers that control a lot of it no matter who the president is. They choose profit over lives. Pretty gut wrenching to know how pharmaceutical companies would poison and make people sick just to make money. We only live one life and they want to end ours early just to make more money. I can understand Obama may do things he don’t like or maybe cut a few corners to make it better for the American people but now he’s just some crazed man out to do what he wants. He’s unfit to run this country and needs to be removed ASAP!

  • John Brittingham

    The death of civilians does more to recruit terrorists than any other propaganda tool.

  • Rocky

    It would be interesting to see an actually tally of the number of people murdered by the 2009 ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ winner.