The US has been waging war in the middle east for over 10 years now, making the combination of conflicts in the region the second longest war in our history. This is due, in part, to something new to our war making stategy: drone attacks. These non-manned flying machines allow the government to wage war without the risk of losing American military, while at the same time lowering the financial cost to wage such a conflict due to fewer deployed soldiers. Their are hidden costs to these tactics however, as this shockingly affective interactive graphic from Pitch Interactive makes abundantly clear.
As Pitch Interactive points out, there is another benefit to governments using drones, that – as the graphic is aptly titled – it puts the cost of war “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” With the US now waging a small-scale war in Pakistan, the interactive demonstrates some important points about the very low success rate of such warring tactics. How do you identify targets on the ground with any level of accuracy? How do you question someone when they are already dead? The cost to the general population is very high.
The interactive opens shockingly, tracing the growth of drone attacks since their inception in 2004 using arcs and bomb like circles to represent each attack. The strikes quickly grow, and after Obama takes office in 2009, literally explode with activity. Once the intro completes we are given a heavy dose of data regarding deaths and drones. One important note on the many deaths labeled “other”:
“The category of victims we call “OTHER” is classified differently depending on the source. The Obama administration classifies any able-bodied male a military combatant unless evidence is brought forward to prove otherwise. This is a very grey area for us. These could be neighbors of a target killed. They may all be militants and a threat. What we do know for sure is that they are targeted without being given any representation or voice to defend themselves.”