WASHINGTON, July 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. drone strike on its own is certainly no panacea for violence and will backfire elsewhere, Paul Kawika Martin, a senior expert with Peace Action, the U.S. largest grassroots peace network, told Xinhua.
"When you have troops on the ground and you accidentally kill civilians, there are places for those civilians to try to attack you back," said Martin, political and communications director of Peace Action, a group dedicated to advancing a progressive platform in U.S. policy for over 50 years.
"When you do this with a drone, where do they go to attack you? They come here to attack you, they try to attack you somewhere else. There's no place for them to have redress. It causes great problems in long term, and is obviously a great recruiting tool, for terrorism," he warned.
The White House said earlier this month that between 64 and 116 civilians were killed in 473 U.S. strikes between 2009 and 2015 in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa where the United States is not at war.
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria were not included in the report, the first U.S. public assessment of this kind.
Few details were offered about the strikes and the people who were killed, provoking criticism from human rights groups which called for more transparency of the counterterrorism strikes, especially the U.S. drone program.
Critics also say the numbers of civilian deaths reported are far too low to be accurate.
"A lot of these places are remote, hard to count, and there's a big issue of what do you count a combatant, a lot of times they have a tendency to count someone a combatant when they are not, and these numbers are very far off from third parties," said Martin, citing an estimation of 200 to 1000 civilian causalities by a watchdog.
"Again these are just in areas outside Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan," he noted, lamenting the lack of transparency.
"We don't know actually what the exact formula is when they make a decision for drone strikes. But they do know that there are civilians there. And, typically there may be a rule of thumb that it's ok to kill five civilians, if we get the one high level target. So, sometimes we do know that they are there, and we are killing them on purpose," said Martin.
He said the strategy, mostly used by U.S. President Barack Obama in his two terms as one of his government's trump cards, will not truly make the United States safer.
"There hasn't been a huge decrease in the activities of ISIS. ISIS took over good portions of Iraq over the last several years, and now we are trying to take it back," he said.
"(This is) also the case in Syria, also the case with the Taleban, in Afghanistan, also the case with terrorists in Pakistan."
"I mean we have killed now, according to Obama, 2300 to 3300 people using drone strikes, or assassinations or targeted killings, or whatever you want to call them, and we are now being jury, judge and executioner without any legal ramifications, in a country that was founded on having a right to trial, and having the legal means to redress if you are the guilty party," he lamented.
"And we're certainly not doing that in these places that we are attacking with drones," he said.
The drone war was initiated in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attack by then U.S. President George W. Bush. Up till July 1, the U.S. government had kept almost all information relevant to its drone strikes classified, including the civilian causalities. Enditem