A new report shows that only one in 50 people who fall victim to America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists, while the rest are innocent civilians.
The authoritative joint study, by Stanford and New York Universities, concludes that men, women and children are being terrorized by the unmanned attacks 24 hours-a-day.
The authors lay much of the blame on the use of the “double-tap” method, when one drone fires a missile, followed by a second drone, which fires after rescuers try to drag victims from the rubble.
One aid agency said they had a six-hour delay before going to the scene.
Many claim these drone attacks ruin any chance at a normal way of life for people of the Middle East region.
“This shows that drone strikes go much further than simply killing innocent civilians,” said Clive Stafford Smith, director of the charity Reprive, which helped interview people for the report. “An entire region is being terrorised by the constant threat of death from the skies.”
There have been at least 345 strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan in the past eight years.
“These strikes are becoming much more common,” Mirza Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer who represents victims of drone strikes, told The Independent.
“In the past it used to be a one-off, every now and then. Now almost every other attack is a double tap. There is no justification for it.”
Research also shows the ramifications are much deeper than simply the fatalities, as the attacks cause deep psychological trauma on the survivors.
Pakistan wants the drone strikes to stop, or at the very least, control their own drone strikes – something the U.S. is refusing.
Reapers and Predators are now active over the skies of Somalia and Yemen as well as Pakistan and – less covertly – Afghanistan.
Many people are calling for the United States to reassess its drone strike program, but for now, it seems very unlikely the Obama Administration will oblige.