In October last year The Intercept published an eight-piece story on the United States’ use of armed drones around the world, citing leaked documents which appeared to show that nine out of every ten people killed in a US ‘targeted killing’ (drone assassination) between May 1st and September 15th, 2012, had not been the targets of the strike.
Stories which have included the fate of Mohammed Tuaiman, a Yemeni 13-year-old who died in such a strike as reported by the Guardian, further damaged America’s reputation and are in direct conflict with the political rhetoric about the use of so-called ‘precision weapons’.
The reputation of the British government is also further damaged
. . . especially when a month earlier then prime minister David Cameron announced that he had personally authorised the targeted killing of a British Citizen, Reyaad Khan, by a British Reaper drone in Syria, and defence secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC that Britain “wouldn’t hesitate to take similar action again”.
Depression and suicide in droned communities
Those living in conflict zones have the added ever-present fear of overhead drones. This is described by Caroline Kennedy, Professor of War Studies and Head of the School of Politics, Philosophy and International Studies. She is currently working on IEDs, Drones and the effects of Drone Strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen and is the author of multiple research papers on drones: “[T]his (is a) feeling of living constantly with the noise and the threat of a strike. But [there is] also the idea that, in what are quite private communities, privacy has been violated… The idea [is] that in these essentially very religious societies, very private societies, the constant surveillance is an intrusion.” She adds:
“We see, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, high rates of depression . . .Suicide rates are worrying in those areas… How do we correlate the presence of drones with these reported rates of depression?”
Read more on this and other aspects of the subject in a detailed briefing by the Oxford Research Group – part of The Remote Control project , a project of the Network for Social Change hosted by Oxford Research Group. It examines changes in military engagement, in particular the use of drones, special forces, private military companies and cyber warfare.