As The New American reported on June 9, missiles fired from a U.S. drone killed at least six people in a rural area of Yemen.
One of the victims, according to Long War Journal, was Saleh Hassan Jredan, a suspected commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
After the drones finally left the area and it was safe to recover the corpses, family members discovered the small, charred remains of another fatality of the strike: It was Saleh’s brother, Abdulaziz, a 10-year-old boy.
A U.S. newspaper that interviewed a resident of the rural town where the drone strike occurred recently confirmed the boy’s identity.
According to available data, Abdulaziz was the first innocent civilian killed by an American drone assault since President Obama declared that such “collateral damage” was a thing of the past.
In a foreign policy speech at the National Defense University on May 23, President Obama set out his “comprehensive counterterrorism strategy,” including a plan for the future development of the deadly drone war being waged throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
In his address, the president reported that the United States has been “at war for over a decade.” This is an odd statement from a purported law professor who should know that only Congress can declare war and no such declaration has been made since the beginning of World War II.
Undaunted by his lack of constitutional understanding, President Obama went on to admit: “From our use of drones to the detention of terrorist suspects, the decisions that we are making now will define the type of nation — and world — that we leave to our children.”
In order to fulfill his promise of “transparency,” President Obama committed to confining the use of the remote control killing machines to cases where there was a “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.”
When asked by Propublica.org how the president could justify the death of 10-year-old Abdulaziz, “National security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden would not comment on the June 9 strike or more generally on the White House position on acknowledging civilian deaths. She referred further questions to the CIA, which also declined to comment.”
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Photo of Northern Yemen