Despite claims by the Obama administration that drone attacks are precise and "surgical," a new study released this week shows that drone strikes cause 10 times more civilian casualties than what already occurs in "conventional" warfare in the ongoing U.S. war in Afghanistan.
Pulling from military data collected between mid-2010 and mid-2011 in Afghanistan—the height of U.S. drone attacks there—Larry Lewis, a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses and adviser to the military's Joint Staff, found that the rate of civilian casualties from drone strikes are far more drastic than what the Obama administration has alluded to.
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As Spencer Ackerman at the Guardian reports, the findings appear "to undermine the claim made by President Obama in a May speech that 'conventional airpower or missiles are far less precise than drones, and likely to cause more civilian casualties and local outrage.'"
On the contrary, the study finds that drone strikes in Afghanistan were "an order of magnitude more likely to result in civilian casualties per engagement," a fact that directly refutes Obama's justifications for the rampant use of the unmanned bombers.