The majority of aircraft currently purchased by the U.S. military are drones, with the use of them becoming a general strategy of the U.S government, says Phil Wilayto, an anti-war activist and editor at the Virginia Defender newspaper in Richmond.
“This is a whole new development…it’s become the general strategy because of course the U.S. is able to carry out attacks without jeopardizing their own soldiers and so their hoping that there will be less public reaction in the U.S. to what the U.S. government is doing overseas,” Wilayto said on Sunday.
“The U.S. government at this point admits that some 4,700 people have been killed in these drone attacks and that is of course almost surely a very low number compared to what’s probably actually happening,” he said, referring to Republican Senator Lindsay Graham who made the estimation on Feb. 20.
Wilayto said “peace activists in many organizations around the country are trying to make the public more aware of this issue.”
Peace activists on Saturday completed a week of protests against U.S. assassination drone attacks in Pakistan and other places, urging the Obama administration to end the strikes.
On Friday evening, they held a vigil outside the Pakistan Embassy, Washington, in remembrance of those killed in the targeted killings campaign.
“So many innocents have been killed,” said one of the protesters, Aisha Iqbal.
Anti-drone attacks activists had also protested at confirmation hearings for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and CIA chief nominee John Brennan earlier this month. They are particularly targeting Brennan who, as President Barack Obama’s chief anti-terrorism adviser, is considered the brain behind the administration’s drone program.
The true toll from hundreds of drone-launched missile strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere has remained a mystery.