In the first hearing on the use of lethal drones by the U.S. military in nine years, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday sought to address long-standing concerns about the number of civilians killed in US air strikes over the past two decades.
Since the previous hearing on the subject – in April 2013 – an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 civilians had been killed as a result of U.S. coalition strikes, according to the monitoring group Airwars, said Senator Dick Durbin, who chairs the committee.
“These are not just numbers. These are real people,” Durbin added, as he discussed post-9/11 military actions.
“Through it all, 20 years and four administrations, the Department of Justice legal analysis permitting these lethal strikes has remained shrouded in secrecy,” the senator said.
In recent months, the civilian toll of America’s “forever wars” in the Middle East has again been in the spotlight after The New York Times released a trove of Pentagon documents showing “deeply flawed intelligence” was used to conduct US-led air strikes, leading to the deaths of thousands of innocent people.
Last month, an independent and Congressionally mandated assessment of the Pentagon’s protocols and policies conducted by the Rand Corporation found that the U.S. military was not adequately equipped to address civilian casualties or take steps to prevent them.
Read the rest of this article at Middle East Eye