News has emerged of a US drone strike in Yemen that killed 14 members of a wedding party and injured 22 others. The victims were traveling in a convoy and the news has understandably caused outrage in that country with the parliament voting to ban any more strikes, though the vote is not binding on the government.
Apart from the horror of the incident, this detail is telling.
U.S. officials declined to comment on the report.
The convoy consisted of 11 vehicles, and the officials said that four of the vehicles were targeted in the strikes. Two of the vehicles were completely damaged. Among the killed were two prominent tribal leaders within the province.
Taking the government officials’ statements at face value (at best a dubious proposition), it seems insane to think that you could pick out just four vehicles out of a convoy of 11 and not harm any of the others, even if you were absolutely sure that the people you wanted to kill, and only they, were in those four vehicles. This illustrates the hubris of the people behind the program who think they can thread that kind of needle.
Cartoonist Ted Rall wonders what might have happened to Nelson Mandela if president Obama’s drone assassination program had been in place earlier.