Blank Says Zero Civilian Casualties Claim Deserves Another Look
More than 100 U.S. military drone missile strikes have been launched against al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan since January 2010. Yet the CIA announced last week that drone strikes had caused zero civilian casualties during the past year.
“If the U.S. government is saying that not a single innocent civilian has been killed, then there must be a great deal more unknown to the public about the drone strikes. This raises some serious problems,” Laurie Blank wrote in a guest column for Jurist.org. Blank is director of Emory Law’s International Humanitarian Law Clinic.
While a report of zero civilian casualties sounds good, it raises questions on how the United States interprets and adheres to international law governing warfare, including who is being targeted, what constitutes a legitimate target and an innocent civilian and how those determinations are made.