John Althouse Cohen highlights some portions of the recent report on US drone strikes in Pakistan (which I haven't read in full). Some highlights from the highlights:
[F]rom June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228-1,362 individuals.
The following is particularly nifty:
[T]he US government counts all adult males killed by strikes as “militants,” absent exonerating evidence.
But fear not. Killings are based on The Scientific Method:
When President Bush left office in January 2009, the US had carried out at least 45 drone strikes according to the New America Foundation, or 52 according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), inside Pakistan. Since then, President Obama has reportedly carried out more than five times that number: 292 strikes in just over three and a half years. [...] Under Obama, the program expanded to include far more “profile” or so-called “signature” strikes based on a “pattern of life” analysis. According to US authorities, these strikes target “groups of men who bear certain signatures, or defining characteristics associated with terrorist activity, but whose identities aren’t known.” Just what those “defining characteristics” are has never been made public. In 2012, the New York Times paraphrased a view shared by several officials that “people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.”
Four years ago, people in the US wondered why everyone in Europe seemed to love Obama so much. I can't say much about other countries, but for Germany, the case seems quite clear - Obama managed to position himself as the anti-Bush, a winning move given the extreme dislike for Bush in this country. When you look at Obama's actual foreign policy record today, he doesn't seem all that different. But, hey, his looks and diction are much, much more cultured. Oh, and he's black, which means he's one of the good guys, absent damning evidence. So who cares about dead civilians?
Well, at least he's a more worthy Nobel Peace Prize winner than Henry Kissinger.