There’s been a huge discrepancy between what the US government has claimed publicly about drone strikes and the record of independent reporting. The Administration has claimed that drone strikes have “narrowly targeted top-level terrorist leaders” and that civilian casualties have been extremely rare. According to independent organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, civilian deaths have outnumbered deaths of “terrorist leaders.” Because of the secrecy of the program, the government has not been forced to account for the discrepancy between their claims and the record of independent reporting.
At long last, two Members of Congress are trying to address this secrecy. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have introduced a bill that would require an annual report detailing casualties from drone strikes, and a retroactive report on the last five years. It sounds simple, but it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle we need in order to know the truth about the U.S. drone wars.
Hiding this information isn’t necessary for our national security. President Obama has promised to be more open and transparent about the drone program, and now Congress needs to ensure he does just that. But Congress won’t do it unless we make them. If we speak up now, we can show Congress that the public demands this information and won’t stay quiet until we get it. The U.S. drone wars are being waged in our names, and we have a right to know this basic information about what’s happening.