News Release

Drone Assassination: Inconvenient Facts


LAURIE CALHOUN,, @laurielcalhoun                                                                                                                    Calhoun is author of several books include We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age

She said today: “President Biden has pivoted from the multiple crises of his administration — inflation, heightened tensions with China and Iran, and even the very real risk of nuclear war with Russia — to announce that he authorized the drone strike killing in Kabul, Afghanistan, of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the masterminds behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Twenty years and millions of ruined lives later, the Biden administration wishes to claim the summary execution of the charred corpse identified as a high-value target as some sort of historic victory. But lest we forget, throughout the ‘war on terror,’ many named targets were ‘reportedly’ killed on multiple occasions at multiple sites. The people incinerated in their stead were in fact unnamed civilians.

Media pundits have been gushing over Biden’s alleged accomplishment, but less than one year ago, on August 29, 2021, also in Kabul, ten entirely innocent civilians were destroyed by a U.S. drone strike on the basis of ‘evidence’ that the target was driving a white Toyota Corolla and seemed to be acting ‘suspiciously.’ Shortly after that strike, the Pentagon vaunted their successful operation against a person said to be plotting an attack on Kabul airport. We later learned that the target was in fact an aid worker who was executed by remote control along with everyone else within the radius of the missile’s impact, including seven children. We have been assured by President Biden that Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed alone, and no one else was injured by the strike, not even his family. What a curious claim to make, given that family members were considered fair game for attack throughout the ‘war on terror.’ For all of these reasons (not to mention Biden’s historically low approval ratings), today’s report smacks suspiciously of overkill.”