3 thoughts on “Another British Reaper Drone Arrives in Afghanistan

  • This is good I think. A lot of the articles I read on this site regarding how ‘bad’ drones are just plain inaccurate. E.g:
    -Recent research by the Ariana Institute in Islamabad found that around 80% of people interviewed in Pakistan’s tribal belt felt that targeting by the drone strikes was accurate.
    -Three US researchers, Matthew Fricker, Avery Plaw, and Brian Glyn Williams have written a paper on US drone attacks in Fata. It contradicts the widely held view in the media and academia that the attacks lead to large-scale civilian casualties. Their paper titled ‘New Light on the Accuracy of the CIA’s Predator Drone Campaign in Pakistan’ will be published in the Sentinel, the magazine of the US Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Centre.
    The authors analysed media reports from a multitude of sources on the US drone strikes in Fata over the last 10 months and compared the coverage of each attack. Where the reported numbers of fatalities differed, the authors favoured the most detailed and updated accounts. Where questions remained, they favoured newspapers of record, always using the lowest plausible count of militants reported slain. All women and children under 13 were assumed to be civilian. In case it became impossible to determine whether a person killed was a militant or a civilian, they assigned that person to the category ‘unknown’. By systematically applying these simple rules to the available information, the authors concluded that as of April 1 this year, there have been a total of 127 confirmed CIA drone strikes in Fata, killing a total of 1,247 people. Of those killed only 44 (or 3.5 per cent) could be confirmed as civilians, while 963 (or 77.2 per cent) were reported to be militants or suspected militants.
    The identities of the remaining 240 individuals who died in these strikes could not be ascertained, and consequently they were placed in the ‘unknown’ category. Even if every single victim placed in the ‘unknown’ category was assumed to be a civilian, the vast majority of fatalities would still be of militants. To be precise, the researchers arrived at a ratio of 3.4 militants for every civilian. The report is revealing because it leads to the conclusion that much of the reporting on these attacks in the Pakistani media and perception created among the general public as a result of such reporting is based on false assumptions — the main being that innocent civilians far outnumbered the militants who died as a result of the drone attacks.
    Media reports say the attacks lead to large-scale civilian causalities and public opinion in Fata is against the attacks. The fact is that many understand that the attacks are needed to target the militants and that in most cases they manage to reach the intended target with great accuracy.

  • Mac – I don’t understand why you think that the US Military Acadamy’s annalysis of newspaper reports of drone strikes is more accurate or reliable than other analysis of press reports.

    Secondly the fact that people FELT that drone attacks were more accurate is neither here nor there!

    Best wishes and thanks for your comment

  • There you go again disarmingman. Inaccurate again – It is not a US military academy analysis. It is an independent analysis to be published in the Sentiel magazine. You should focus on the evidence of the case (you pointedly failed to do so) instead of making a cheap point regarding the point of publication.

    Secondly the people whose opinion was quoted regarding the accuracy of the strikes actually live in the area. The word ‘felt’ here clearly describes their first hand experience; you rather lazily semanticise I think Moreover, are the supposed victims on whose behalf.we are supposed to be appaled and horified. Quite a powerful source of evidence I would say. More so than that of external observers with a political axe to grind I would postulate.

    Good luck with your site but until you introduce greater rigour and critical analysis istead of reporting the ‘evidence’ that fits the prejudice you may find it difficult to be taken as seriously as I am sure you would hope. You also do harm to the possible truths in your case.

    Best wishes

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