Under intense public pressure, the White House today released its “official” accounting of “noncombatant civilians” killed overseas under the current administration as a result of the increased employment of armed unmanned aerial systems, commonly referred to as drones, to target and kill alleged terrorists.
The report indicates that the president has ordered such airstrikes and other attacks that resulted in somewhere between 64 and 116 innocent people losing their lives. This tally does not include “active war zones,” which have always included Afghanistan under his tenure and of late also includes Iraq and Syria.
Obviously, these numbers represent a wide swing of potential fidelity and given the exclusion of the aforementioned theaters from the tally, along with other forms of attacks not counted, one can rest assured the real numbers are likely higher (e.g., the Kunduz Doctors Without Borders hospital airstrike). Indeed, three separate studies by the New America Foundation, the Long War Journal, and the Bureau of Investigate Journalism each found the innocent casualty rate to be significantly greater (219, 212, and at least 325, respectively).
So in sum, the conservative tally runs as follows – my guns: 0; the president’s drones: at least 64 (and counting). Tell me again who should be subject to increased scrutiny and draconian regulation?
This is what consequentialism leads us to. If one is to embrace a philosophy that the ends justify the means, then one must own the inherent evils associated with killing innocents.