Report Claims No Pakistani Civilian Deaths From Drones in 2012

Civilian deaths due to drone strikes in Pakistan are falling rapidly, and the death rate is now close to zero — or so asserts a New America Foundation (NAF) report. The report was authored by Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland of NAF, a public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. Bergen is the cable … Continue reading “Report Claims No Pakistani Civilian Deaths From Drones in 2012”

Why I Interrupted Obama Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan

Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan spoke at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C., on April 30 to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. It was the first time a high-level member of the Obama administration spoke at length about the U.S. drone strikes that the CIA and the Joint … Continue reading “Why I Interrupted Obama Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan”

Libyan Airstrike Victims Still Waiting for Redress

Amnesty International (AI) released a scathing report late last week calling for an investigation into civilian deaths from airstrikes during the 2011 NATO-led military intervention in Libya, which began one year ago Monday. “It is deeply disappointing that more than four months since the end of the military campaign, victims and relatives of those killed … Continue reading “Libyan Airstrike Victims Still Waiting for Redress”

The Ghost and the Machine

Fazillah, age 25, lives in Maidan Shar, the central city of Afghanistan’s Wardak province. She married about six years ago and gave birth to a son, Aymal, who just turned 5 without a father. Fazillah tells her son, Aymal, that his father was killed by an American bomber plane, remote-controlled by computer. That July, in … Continue reading “The Ghost and the Machine”

Cold, Cold Hearts

On Valentine’s Day, opening the little cartoon on the Google page brought up a sentimental animation with Tony Bennett singing “Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?” Here in Dubai, where I’m awaiting a visa to visit Afghanistan, the weather is already warm and humid. But my bags are … Continue reading “Cold, Cold Hearts”

Drone Disasters

After almost two months in abeyance and the (possibly temporary) loss of Shamsi Air Base for its air war, the CIA is again cranking up its drone operations in the Pakistani tribal borderlands. The first two attacks of 2012 were launched within 48 hours of each other, reportedly killing 10 ___s, and wounding at least … Continue reading “Drone Disasters”

Are We Gods?

This holiday season, as you walk through a public area (any mall, grocery, or restaurant will do), start counting the people you see. Look in their faces, listen to their conversations, and try to appreciate each of them not just as strangers, but as fellow human beings. When you get to 40 (making sure to … Continue reading “Are We Gods?”

ISAF Data: Night Raids Killed Over 1,500 Afghan Civilians

U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) killed well over 1,500 civilians in night raids in less than 10 months in 2010 and early 2011, analysis of official statistics on the raids released by the U.S.-NATO command reveals. That number would make U.S. night raids by far the largest cause of civilian casualties in the war in … Continue reading “ISAF Data: Night Raids Killed Over 1,500 Afghan Civilians”

UN Tally Excluded Most Afghan Civilian Deaths in Night Raids

WASHINGTON/KABUL — A July United Nations report asserting that only 30 civilians died in targeted raids in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2011 reflected only a very small fraction of night raids in which civilians were killed, according to officials of the independent Afghan commission that co-produced the 2010 report on civilian casualties … Continue reading “UN Tally Excluded Most Afghan Civilian Deaths in Night Raids”

Journalism 101: If a US Official Says It, Report It

In Pakistan, according to American officials, strikes from Predators and Reapers operated by the CIA have killed more than 2,000 militants; the number of civilian casualties is hotly debated. In Yemen last month, an American citizen was, for the first time, the intended target of a drone strike, as Anwar al-Awlaki, the Qaeda propagandist and … Continue reading “Journalism 101: If a US Official Says It, Report It”