Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Voice from Yemen: Obama's Drones Stir 'Growing Hatred of America'

Senate holds its first hearing on legality and consequences of drone warfare and targeted killing

Jon Queally, staff writer

Among those who testified at a Tuesday Senate subcommittee hearing on the Obama adminstration's drone and targeted killing program was a Yemeni national named Farea Al-muslimi.

The young man described how a suspected US drone last week fired missiles on his small village of Wessab in Yemen and told the bipartisan panel of Senators that, “What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: There is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.”

Al-Muslimi's story gave credence, and personal voice, to other expert witnesses who testified about how the US drone program is likely harming, not helping, national security.

"Most of the world has never heard of Wessab. But just six days ago, my village was struck by a drone, in an attack that terrified thousands of simple, poor farmers," Muslimi said in prepared testimony. "The drone strike and its impact tore my heart, much as the tragic bombings in Boston last week tore your hearts and also mine."

He continued: "The drone strikes are the face of America to many Yemenis."

"If America is providing economic, social and humanitarian assistance to Yemen, the vast majority of the Yemeni people know nothing about it," he said. "Everyone in Yemen, however, knows about America and its drones."

The hearing, titled “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counter-terrorism Implications of Targeted Killings,” also received testimony from the New America Foundation's foreign policy expert Peter Bergen who, as Reuters recounts, explained "that in 2012 Obama authorized at least 46 drone strikes in Yemen, while former President George W. Bush launched only one there."

Offering his advice on how to better handle the situation in Yemen, Al-Muslimi suggested the US government take the following steps:

  • Stop all the targeted killing strikes.
  • Announce the names of those already on the “kill list,” so that innocent civilians can stay out of harm’s way.
  • Issue an official apology to the families of all civilians killed or injured by targeted killing strikes.
  • Compensate the families of innocent civilians killed or injured by strikes conducted or authorized by the United States.
  • In every village where there has been a targeted killing, build a school or hospital so that the villagers’ only experience with America will not be the death and destruction caused by an American missile.

Al-Muslimi's full testimony can be read here (pdf). Additional witness testimony for the panel available here.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Nina Turner Kicks Off '$27 Dollar Donation Challenge' After Hillary Clinton Endorses Establishment Candidate in Ohio

"While the establishment is doing everything they can to stop our movement," the progressive candidate said, "we will continue elevating the issues."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·

Progressives Push for High-Speed Rail Funding in Infrastructure Deal

"This is part of our overall goal to create millions of union jobs in the United States of America building climate infrastructure to bring down our carbon emissions, save our future, and improve our quality of life."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

Unions Demand Pelosi and Schumer Include Lower Medicare Age, Drug Pricing Reform in Infrastructure Plan

"Now is the time for action to lower drug prices and improve access to care for millions."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

Watchdog Demands FDA Chief Resign Over 'Reckless' Approval of Biogen Alzheimer's Drug

"This is legitimately one of the most irresponsible and egregious decisions in the history of the FDA. It needs to be a nationwide scandal."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·