As of March, 2013, according to the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), the cumulative statistics show that under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, the US has conducted about 366 drone strikes. The BIJ reports that its Naming the Deadproject has documented 2,541 (minimum) - 3533 (maximum) people killed in US drone strikes, mostly in Pakistan since 2004.
The bureau estimates that 411-884 civilians have been killed, including 168-197 children.
The UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson, confirmed BIJstatistics when he said in March that CIA drones have killed at least 400 civilians in Pakistan. Recently, BIJ published a list of names of children killed by American drones (see list below). Some of the children are infants aged 1-4.
Global Research comments on the list:
In some cases, brothers and sisters of a family were killed in a single drone strike. According to Global Research:
Four sisters of the Ali Mohammed Nasser family in Yemen were killed. Afrah was 9 years old when she and her three younger sisters Zayda (7 years old) , Hoda (5 years old) and Sheika (4 years old) were struck by an American drone.
Ibrahim, a 13 year old boy of the Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye family in Yemen was struck by a US drone, together with his younger brother Asmaa (9 years old) and two younger sisters, Salma (4 years old) and Fatima (3 years old
These children are innocent. They are not different from our own children.
Their lives were taken away at a very young age as part of a military agenda, which claims to be combating “international terrorism.”
Anti-drone activists argue that killing innocent children can't be "foreign policy" when it is an act of the US government and "terrorism" only when it is the act of Islamic fundamentalists.
An American expresses his feelings of frustration about the moral tunnel vision on both sides of the conflict:
This is that THING, one of the greatest problems with humanity, that their spies should be executed while our spies given medals, their snipers are evil while our snipers are doing God’s work, our bombs are blessed by Jesus while theirs come from the Devil and on and on it goes... That tribalism – caused mostly by religion and nationality – has caused the MURDER of hundreds of millions of innocent people... If only someone, somewhere, sometime would step up to the plate on this issue and tell it like it is. If only we could...
A Yemeni free-lance journalist Farea Al-Muslimi, whose village came recently under drone attack comments on the terrorizing impact of US "foreign policy" on ordinary Yemenis:
... it is tempting to conclude that the US has no interest in a measured response to terrorism... it doesn't matter to them whether they terrorize (and radicalize) entire populations as they check another name off their “kill list.
Drones have a tremendous psychological effect on those living in their shadows. Villagers say drones hovered over Wessab for three days before they struck. The ominous buzz of the drones terrorizes communities. Where will they strike? Will I be next? These are the questions youngsters now grow up asking.
The "collateral damage" of drones cannot just be measured in corpses. Drones are traumatizing a generation and further alienating Yemenis from any cooperation with the West, or even with the Yemeni central government.
Global Research argues that the definition of terrorism cannot be limited to the acts of the enemy alone. We don't have terrorists only when radicalized Muslim teenagers bomb innocent citizens at the Boston Marathon. The children listed below died as direct consequence of orders given by the President of the United States. The acts of President Obama and his predecessor George Bush are "crimes against humanity" under international law.
List of children killed by drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism: