Jefferson Morley | March 12, 2019
Endless War Recipe: Shroud the Toll of CIA Drone Strikes
Former CIA analyst Paul Pillar explains the cost of the Trump administration’s decision to discontinue reporting on civilian casualties of CIA drone strikes.
The cost is not only humanitarian, Pillar writes in LobeLog.
A report dedicated to civilian casualties outside war zones can help, marginally, make the public more conscious of this dimension of the U.S. use of lethal force. It can also serve to discipline any administration’s use of this form of force.
One reason why America has had 18 years of unsuccessful war in Afghanistan and Iraq is because official secrecy shrouds the cost of war from the Congress and the taxpayers. Unaware of the costs, the public and their elected representatives accept war, even as it damages U.S. interest.
… drone strikes that kill innocent civilians can entail a cost to Americans in the long run beyond basic considerations of humanity and morality. Dead civilians and the resentment that follows their deaths are fodder for extremist groups that preach a message of hate, violence, and revenge—especially revenge against whatever nation caused the deaths. In this respect, drone strikes that run up a civilian death toll constitute a counterproductive aspect of counterterrorism.