No matter your opinion on the use of drones, the idea of living under constant fear of drones has to be a terrifying thing.
President Barack Obama launched his first drone strike on Jan. 23, 2009.
Since then, US drones have killed more than 2,400 people in strikes targeting markets, homes, funerals and even weddings, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a UK-based nonprofit. Between 2004 and 2013, drone strikes killed an estimated 2,525 to 3,613 people.
Obama has constantly defended his use of drones, calling them legal, effective and that they have saved American lives. But on the flip side, he said the civilian casualties would “haunt” him for the rest of his life, but that he needed to weigh the loss of civilian lives against the threat to life posed by terrorists.
In a story on Salon.com, people from Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia share their traumatic stories of life with drones.
“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies,”
“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies,” Zubair, a 13-year-old boy from North Waziristan, Pakistan, said in a testimony before Congress in October 2013. “The drones do not fly when the skies are gray … When the sky brightens, drones return and we live in fear. It’s something that a 2-year-old would know … We hear the noise 24 hours a day.”
Zubair’s grandmother was killed by a drone strike on Oct. 24, 2012, as she was picking okra in a field. He testified together with his father and 9-year-old sister.
Aziz Mabkhut al-Amri
“As we were driving to the site, I felt myself going deeper and deeper into darkness,” said Aziz. His brother Abdullah Mabkhut al-Amri’s wedding in Rada’a, Yemen in December 2013 made headlines when four hellfire missiles struck it. “That is the feeling of a person who sees his brothers, cousins, relatives and friends dead by one strike, without reason.”
In 2012, Ben Swann asked President Obama about the infamous “kill list,” the list of people targeted for assassination. Though Obama claimed that Americans would not be the target of indefinite detention, Swann reminded the president that an American citizen in fact was on the list and was killed by a Hellfire missile launched from a Predator drone.
Watch Ben Swann’s interview below.