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Youth Disrupted: Effects of U.S. Drone Strikes on Children in Targeted Areas

Youth Disrupted: Effects of U.S. Drone Strikes on Children in Targeted Areas

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Published by WarCosts
A report uncovering the number of children killed by U.S. drone strikes.
A report uncovering the number of children killed by U.S. drone strikes.

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Published by: WarCosts on Dec 01, 2012
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Youth Disrupted:
 
Effects of U.S. DroneStrikes on Children in Targeted Areas
 
 A Report by Brave New Foundation
Photograph by Noor Behram December, 2012
 
Youth Disrupted: Effects of U.S. Drone Strikes on Children inTargeted Areas
Since the George W. Bush administration’s first use of 
targeted assassinations viadrone strikes, aimed at Al Qaeda and associated forces, in 2002, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) reports
at least 
178 innocent children (up to age 17)have died directly as a result of U.S. drone policy.
1
 
TBIJ’s
analysis --
called the “best currently available public aggregate data on dronestrikes”
by legal experts at Stanford and NYU who recently released the in-depthreport 
Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians From US DronePractices in Pakistan
2
 ,
-- finds that 176 of the 178 children killed in U.S. dronesstrikes were Pakistani. The two non-Pakistani children were killed in Yemen: U.S.citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, 16, and his Yemeni cousin Ahmed Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki, 17.
Misleading claims by the U.S. Government 
The minimum count  of 178 child deaths is far beyond any acknowledged count of civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes by the U.S. government. John Brennan,
President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, has called civilian c
asualties as a
result of the CIA’s secretive drone policy
 
“exceedingly rare.”
3
Brennan said in August 
2011, “Fortunately, for more than a year, due to our discretion and precision, the
U.S. government has not found credible evidence of collateral deaths resulting from
U.S. counterterrorism operations outside of Afghanistan or Iraq.”
4
Though fromAugust 2010 through August 2011, TBIJ documented at least 101 civilians, including13 children, were killed by drone strikes. Brennan also said from August 2010through
April 2012, the U.S. “had no information about a sin
gle civilian being
killed.”
5
TBIJ found that at least 107 civilians, including at least 16 children, werekilled by strikes in that time. Finally, in January 2012, President Obama --acknowledging
the CIA’s drone program for the first tim
e -- said strikes do not causelarge amounts of civilian casualties.
6
TBIJ finds that at the time of 
Obama’s
1
http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/
2
http://livingunderdrones.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Stanford-NYU-LIVING-UNDER-DRONES.pdf 
3
http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/the-efficacy-and-ethics-us-counterterrorism-strategy
4
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/world/asia/12drones.html
5
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/04/brennan-drone-attacks.html
6
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/world/middleeast/civilian-deaths-due-to-drones-are-few-obama-says.html
 
statement, at least 284 civilians, and at least 62 children, had died from strikes sincehe came into office in January 2009. Similar statements downplaying the amount of civilian casualties have been made numerous times by unnamed government sources, according to
Living Under Drones
.
7
 Two recent  reports --
Living Under Drones,
and
The Civilian Impact of Drones:Unexamined Costs, Unanswered Questions,
8
 
by researchers at Columbia Law School
’s
Center for Civilians in Conflict -- present seminal findings on how drone strikesaffect civilian populations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. There is also valuable information contained in these reports on howdrone strikes in particular impact  children beyond the consequence of death.
Significant findings in
Living Under Drones
(direct passages):
-
 
In North Waziristan, extended families often live together in compounds that contain several homes, often constructed with mud. Most compounds includea hujra, which is the main gathering room for men and the area in whichmale family members entertain visitors. The hujra is often in close proximityto buildings reserved exclusively for women and children. As a result, theshrapnel and resulting blast of a missile strike on a hujra can and has
killedand injured women and children
in these nearby structures. (p. 25)-
 
Drone strikes that kill civilians also exact a substantial toll on livelihoods byincapacitating the primary income earners of families. Because men aretypically the primary income earners in their families, strikes often deprive
victims’ families of “a key, and perhaps its only, source of income
.” Families
struggle to compensate for the lost income, often
 
forcing children orother younger relatives to forgo school and enter the workforce at ayoung age
. (p. 78)
Psychological Trauma
-
 
One man described the reaction to the sound of the drones as “a wave of terror” coming over the community.
“Children, grown
-up people, women,
they are terrified. . . . They scream in terror.”
(p. 81)
 
-
 
Interviewees also reported a loss of appetite as a result of the anxiety theyfeel when drones are overhead. Ajmal Bashir, an elderly man who has lost both relatives and friends to strikes, said that 
“every person—
women,children, elders
they are all frightened and afraid of the drones
. . .
[W]hen [drones] are flying, they don’t like to eat anything . . . because they
7
 
Living Under Drones
; Chapter 5: Strategic Considerations; Appendix C
8
http://web.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/human-rights-institute/files/The%20Civilian%20Impact%20of%20Drones.pdf 

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Debbieankits added this note
Great...!!
1 thousand reads
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Jo Ann Jury added this note
Where to begin. 1) Drone attacks are prime recruiting tool for 'militants' aka terrorists. Well then, by all means let's stop. We certainly don't want to help them cuz we all know that if we sit back and don't bother them they will eventually come to know and love the US. NOT!!! You can not gauge a response to terrorism by whether or not it will piss off the terrorists. 2) 'The hujra is often in c
Immortal Technique added this note
these children didn't know why they died..... very sad time in history
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