Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Thirty Afghan farmers were killed in a U.S. drone strike last week. (Photo: U.S. Air Force/Lt Col Leslie Pratt/Public Domain)

The US Just Killed 30 Innocent People in Afghanistan. Let's Pretend It Was London.

What if the victims of last week's U.S. drone strike had lived somewhere other than Afghanistan?

Christian Christensen

A US official in the UK has indicated that he is “working with local authorities” and “examining the intelligence” that led to a drone strike late last week that took the lives of 30 customers at a restaurant in central London. It appears that the intended target of the strike was a gathering of IS leaders, and that the group attacked — at an Italian restaurant celebrating the 70th birthday of one of the confirmed dead — was mistaken for the IS cell. In addition to the dead were over 40 wounded, many with life-threatening injuries. A number of children were among the 70 casualties.

While the US government has so far refused to confirm responsibility for the strike, a State Department spokesperson has said that, should in transpire that the US is responsible for the deaths, “collateral damage, while extremely rare, is a regrettable consequence of the ongoing efforts of the US to combat international terrorism,” and that, “citizens of London should be well aware by now that there are certain areas in the city that should be avoided.” The State Department spokesperson also noted that all strikes are conducted with the “utmost care,” and that it is not unusual for civilian death tolls to be “significantly exaggerated” by authorities in the UK.

Residents of the UK have been active on social media condemning the attack, noting that the international media show little or no interest in reporting on mass civilian casualties of US drone strikes in predominantly Christian nations. “Basically, the media might report that some people were killed in an attack and that’s it. No follow-up. No discussion of guilt. It’s like the lives of white Christian bankers in London count for less than nothing,” said UKJames on Twitter. Another Twitter user asked, “How can it be that the US is allowed to attack who and where they want in England, killing civilians, without any consequences? These were innocent people eating dinner. Where’s the outrage?”

Many of the posts on Facebook and Twitter also pointed out the how the “War on Terror” deaths of wealthier Christians in Europe are ignored by the media, while poorer Muslims, killed in places like Afghanistan and Yemen, get disproportionate coverage and attention from major news outlets.

Not all comments on social media, however, were sympathetic to the victims in London. “If these people in don’t want to get killed, why do they even live in England? Move somewhere else. Just not here!” tweeted EagleUSA1990. Others were quick to note that there was no evidence that those killed in the restaurant were not, in fact, members of IS, and that, “If you take your children out at night in a place like London it’s your fault of they get killed. What kind of people are these? They shouldn’t even have kids.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has expressed outrage over the deaths, saying that a full investigation into the attack must take place, including criminal charges of negligent homicide against those responsible — this, despite the fact that the US has indicated it will not recognize any legal decision made outside of a US court. Khan noted that this is the fourth US drone attack in the UK in recent months: attacks that have claimed over 1,000 innocent lives in the UK in the last decade. One of these included a strike in July of this year that hit a wedding on the outskirts of the city of Manchester killing 44 participants, including the bride and her entire family. As the wedding took place in an “area of interest” to the US government, however, an internal investigation resulted in a finding of “no culpability” on the part of the United States.

Despite the US government refusal to claim responsibility, families of the Manchester victims were nevertheless offered $500 compensation each by US authorities, “in memory of the dead, and as a sign of goodwill on the part of the United States of America.”

(US drone strike intended for Isis hideout kills 30 pine nut workers in Afghanistan)


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Christian Christensen

Christian Christensen

Christian Christensen, American in Sweden, is Professor of Journalism at Stockholm University. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrChristensen

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo