Remembering the Human Collateral Damage
By Debra Sweet. Last week 17 people died from a U.S. drone strike in a remote area of Yemen as they drove in a convoy returning from a wedding. People in the area had heard the drone overhead since the day before. As to what really happened, we are fed a lot of speculation by the US news media, because, of course, the U.S. military won't comment... “those killed were linked to al Qaeda, and therefore legitimate targets... the government of Yemen is running the war, and they choose the targets... the drone strike targeted that convoy by ‘mistake.’”
“A U.S. drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy in Yemen's al-Baitha province after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying al Qaeda militants,” CNN reported. “The officials said that 14 people were killed and 22 others injured, nine in critical condition. The vehicles were traveling near the town of Radda when they were attacked.”
The L.A. Times said later: “The death toll reached 17 overnight, hospital officials in central Bayda province said Friday. Five of those killed were suspected of involvement with Al Qaeda, but the remainder were unconnected with the militancy, Yemeni security officials said.”
Friday's New York Times' story said, ”Most of the dead appeared to be people suspected of being militants linked to Al Qaeda, according to tribal leaders in the area, but there were also reports that several civilians had been killed.”
As Peter Hart of FAIR noted, ”So most of the dead appeared to be peoplesuspected of being linked to Al Qaeda. That's a whole lot of qualifiers to make the point that those [wedding party goers] who were killed were the intended targets.”
It will take months, if ever, to know the true story with details, if the past five years of Obama's use of cruise missiles fired from drones in Yemen are any indication. Reuters reports that "Yemen's parliament on Sunday called for a stop to drone attacks in a symbolic vote that reflected growing public anxiety about Washington's use of the unmanned aircraft to combat al Qaeda in the impoverished country."
Obama — who promised last May to narrow the use of targeted killing — carried out this mass murder on International Human Rights Day, just before speaking at Nelson Mandela's funeral where he rebuked other countries for not respecting human rights.
Thanks to Felton Davis of the New York Catholic Worker for this: Attacks on Wedding Parties by the United States, a Partial List. As we see a pattern to these horrific scenes, World Can't Wait has staged a number of protests over the years demonstrating against these wars which so unforgivingly target civilians, over and over again. Below: protesting in Grand Central Station, NYC, in 2009. Watch the Chicago protest against attacks on weddings.