Drone Killing of Civilians Sparks Outrage in Yemen…Apathy in U.S.

Friday, September 07, 2012
Yemeni children look for drones (photo: Reuters)

The United States has ramped up its drone war campaign in Yemen, where 10 civilians, including a 10-year-old girl and her mother, were killed last weekend. The attack provoked outrage among Yemenis, while the American media, which rarely pays attention to the war in Yemen anyway, was largely distracted by the Democratic Party’s national convention.


The 10 killed were among 29 who died in Yemen within a week, as the result of multiple drone attacks. Other sources in Yemen said that 13 civilians were killed on Sunday, including four children.


On September 2, the U.S. went after a vehicle carrying a local leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The air strike also took out a nearby minibus transporting civilians near the town of Rada’a in al-Baitha province.


The Yemeni government sent tribal representatives to investigate the reported civilian deaths. Local residents were so angered by the attack that they blocked the main road between Rada’a and the town of Dhammar. The representatives were instructed to compensate the victims’ families (about $100,000) to get the road open again.


“You want us to stay quiet while our wives and brothers are being killed for no reason. This attack is the real terrorism,” one Rada’a resident, Mansoor al-Maweri, told CNN.


U.S. drone strikes in Yemen have killed a total of 274 people since the start of 2011, but it is impossible to tell how many of them were actually militants because the U.S. counts all military-age males as combatants.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

29 Dead in 8 Days as U.S. Puts Yemen Drone War in Overdrive (by Noah Shachtman, Wired)

Yemen Probes Civilian Deaths In Apparent US Drone Strike (Agence France-Presse)

U.S. Escalates Drone War in Yemen (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Americans at War in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya…and (For a Long Time Already) Yemen (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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