Sunday, November 3, 2013

Double-tap drone strikes

A U.S. drone strike killed at least 17 people in Pakistan's tribal region on Wednesday [July 3], Reuters reports.

But Reuters also reports this (emphasis ours):
Many were wounded in the attack, local tribesman Kaleemullah Dawar said, but rescuers delayed for fear of falling victim to a second attack, a common tactic with drone strikes.
That tactic is known as the "double tap," which bombs multiple targets in relatively quick succession — meaning that the second strike often hits first responders. ...

NYU Student Josh Begley revealed the trend while tweeting every U.S. drone strike since 2002.

Last year a study by the NYU School of Law and Stanford Law School detailed the U.S. use of the double tap, providing first-hand accounts of its devastating effect on rescuers and humanitarian workers. ...

Last June the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Christof Heyns said he considers secondary strikes to be "war crimes." ...

Furthermore, Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian reports that a recent study conducted by a U.S. military adviser found that ... drone strikes in Afghanistan were "an order of magnitude more likely to result in civilian casualties per engagement" than manned bombing runs.
--Michael Kelley, Business Insider, on how the precision of drone strikes is used