Murdering Innocents by Drone Attack

Issue Bush Obama Change?
Drone Attacks 52 Attacks

Nothing to be proud of.
Much worse at 260.

Obama's penchant for using the terrorist tactic of a second attack to kill rescuers, is a war crime.
Professor Dapo Akande, who heads Oxford University’s Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, believes that under LOAC the killing of civilian rescuers is problematic: ‘The question is, can rescuing be regarded as taking part in hostilities, to which for me the answer is clearly “No”. That rescuing is not taking part in hostilities.’

If LOAC does not apply – as some respected lawyers believe is the case – then the far more restrictive international human rights law (IHRL) applies. This explicitly forbids attacks except in the most restricted circumstances, namely when the possibility of being attacked is absolutely imminent.

‘Not to mince words here, if it is not in a situation of armed conflict, unless it falls into this very narrow area of imminent threat then it is an extra-judicial execution. This is absolutely unlawful under IHRL and of course under domestic law in any place in which such an attack might occur. And illegal under US law,’ says Naz Modirzadeh, Associate Director of the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) at Harvard University.

‘So then we don’t even need to get to the nuance of who’s who, and are people there for rescue or not. Because each death is illegal. Each death is a murder in that case.’

Citation.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has such rigorous proof requirements regarding whether a civilian was killed in a drone strike, that the numbers it presents seriously understate the totals. But even with that caveat, Obama is directly responsible for the murder: ... since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children. Citation.
Among the group was Tariq Aziz, a quiet 16-year-old, who had come after he received a phone call from a lawyer in Islamabad offering him an opportunity to learn basic photography to help document these strikes.

We met for a grand dinner in the conference hall of a luxury hotel. And the next day we all met again at an official meeting – a ‘Waziristan Grand Jirga’. I filmed Tariq Aziz as he walked in with his friends. Each of them pressed their right palms on the chest of each of the elders who lined up to meet them.

Tariq was proud to be part of this meeting. About 18 months earlier, in April 2010, his cousin Aswar Ullah was killed by a missile fired from a drone as he rode a motorcycle near Norak.

Tariq, like all of us, listened intently to the speakers, who included the politician and former cricketer Imran Khan.

What none of us could have imagined was that 72 hours later, this football-loving teenager would himself be killed by a CIA drone, along with his 12-year-old cousin Waheed Khan.

Citation.
Worse

Not just worse, but 14x worse. Murdering innocents is nothing to be proud of but it stands as one of Obama's largest anti-achievements.


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Updated Feb 5, 2012