The Obama administration reckoned on Friday that civilian deaths caused by U.S. drone strikes in war zones range from 64 to 116 between 2009 and 2015.
According to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), between 64 and 116 is the total of civilians’ deaths as a result of US air attacks in war zones during the years 2009-2015. It has also been estimated that between 2,372 and 2,581 militants were killed by US drones.
The sum was conducted and released by DNI, whose sources of information were media, non-governmental organizations, and others. As per the agency, during January 20, 2009, and December 31, 2015, the US has conducted about 473 strikes against terrorist targets outside areas of war zones. However, the DNI said that it was not easy to gather such information considering the “non-permissive environments” where the strikes usually occur.
The count was disclosed as part of Obama’s efforts to elucidate government’s controversial military tactics during “terror” times. A White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said that US President considers that counterterrorism strategies can show better results if government’s agencies are as transparent as possible, even if it is quite difficult to be transparent when referring to such sensitive issues.
— Latest Drone Strike (@latest_strike) May 23, 2016
In turn, Human rights groups did not agree with the numbers of casualties due to the remarkable difference of government’s count and the one carried out by independent estimates.
“Although we welcome this release, it’s hard to credit the government’s death count, which is lower than all independent assessments. The government continues to conceal the identities of people it has killed, the precise definitions it uses to decide who can legitimately be targeted, and its investigations into credibly alleged wrongful killings,” said the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, Hina Shamsi.
The DNI did not specify which countries were included in the sum, it is believed, however, that the military and CIA conducted strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and several countries of Africa. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are also war zones where US government has ordered thousands of air attacks.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 1, 2016
Apart from a plan of transparency regarding US military tactics, the numbers have been disclosed with the aim of establishing a rigorous reporting process for the next White House occupant.
Executive order to reduce civilians’ death by US drones
President Barack Obama signed on Friday an executive order to command future government’s administrations to work in a uniform way in preventing civilians’ death caused by US drones. The executive order also demands the government to reveal annually civilian casualties from strikes.
Jul 1, 2016: While the U.S. announced its drone strike statistics, 3 people were killed in an SUV (Yemen) https://t.co/OllDlCtzwu
— Dronestream (@dronestream) July 1, 2016
The Administration’s agencies “shall maintain and promote best practices that reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties, take appropriate steps when such injuries occur, and draw lessons from our operations to further enhance the protection of civilians,” President Obama wrote in the executive order.
US administration officials rely on Obama’s order, and they firmly believe that the next commander in chief will keep working on it.