Posted 8 months ago on Oct. 16, 2012, 8:11 a.m. EST by arturo
from Shanghai, Shanghai
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Mere numbers and statistics don’t begin to capture the horror of Obama’s drone killing spree. “The missiles fired from drones kill or injure in several ways, including through incineration, shrapnel, and the release of powerful blast waves capable of crushing internal organs,” the Stanford report states. “Those who do survive drone strikes often suffer disfiguring burns and shrapnel wounds, limb amputations, as well as vision and hearing loss.”
One case study given in the Stanford study, is that of the bombing of a large gathering of individuals, largely community leaders and tribal elders, gathered for a jirga—a council—in North Waziristan, convened to resolve a dispute over a local mine. Four Taliban members, whose presence was considered necessary for the dispute to be resolved, were in attendance. This was a government-sanctioned meeting, and local military authorities had been notified of it in advance. Nonetheless, the gathering was hit by a series of missiles, killing 42 and injuring dozens of others. One witness recalled that “everything was devastated. There were pieces— body pieces—lying around. There was lots of flesh and blood.” Family members were unable to identify the body parts scattered around; one said that all he could do, was “collect pieces of flesh and put them in a coffin.” To this day, U.S. officials insist that all those who were killed, were insurgents.
It is common that those who are not killed instantly by drone-fired rockets, often have to wait hours for help, because the U.S. carries out repeated strikes in quick succession—known as a “double tap”—killing those who have rushed to help. As the Stanford report states, “the U.S. practice of striking one area multiple times, and its record of killing first responders, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid to assist injured victims.” One humanitarian organization has enforced a six-hour mandatory delay before going to the location of a drone strike.
This practice has been called a “war crime” by numbers of authorities, including the U.S. Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, who stated that “if civilian ‘rescuers’ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime.”
The Columbia study explains the “military” rationale for these follow-up attacks: to ensure that all those within the “kill box” are actually killed. The unwarranted assumption is that all those in the designated area are “militants” rather than civilians. One commentator in a military journal suggests that rescuers are targeted in these follow-up attacks “in an attempt to score a windfall of extra militants killed.”
In a section on “Mental Health Impacts,” the Stanford report chronicles the sheer terror of living under constant drone surveillance and under the threat of unpredictable missile strikes. One man described the reaction to the sound of drones as “a wave of terror” coming over the community. “Children, grown-up people, women, they are terrified. . . . They scream in terror.” Another says, “They’re always over us, and you never know when they’re going to strike and attack.”
Families are even afraid to give their dead a proper and dignified burial. The Stanford study states that, because drone strikes have targeted funerals and the spaces where families gather, they have undermined local religious and cultural practices, because family members and the community are afraid to attend funerals, or participate in funeral processions, for fear of being bombed.