Current Weather
The Spy FM

Sen. Graham Says 4,700 Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
February 21, 2013

We’ve all heard that drone strikes directed against al-Qaida and other militants have been on the rise, but now Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), has put a number on deaths by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle: 4,700.

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, rattled off the death toll during a talk he gave to the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, South Carolina, Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve killed 4,700,” Graham said.

“Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of al-Qaeda,” he added.

But as The Hill notes, the CIA and Pentagon have yet to publicly disclose the actual casualty count from U.S. armed drone operations.

Unofficial casualty estimates stemming from armed drone operations have put the death toll at between 1,900 to 3,200. Most of those strikes have taken place in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere in the Mideast and North Africa.

However, Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop told The Hill on Wednesday the senator was not quoting actual casualty figures provided by DOD or Langley, but citing independent analysis of the program.

According to Micah Zenko, who has written extensively about the use of drones for the Center on Foreign Relations, Graham’s figure is far higher than the average found in the publicly available literature.

Zenko says Graham’s figure is near the high-end of a range reported by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. TBIJ believes the number of killed in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia in the period 2002-2013 is something between 3,072 and 4,756.

Graham’s remarks come as the White House has been under renewed scrutiny for the drone program as the Senate holds confirmation hearings on John Brennan, President Obama’s pick to be the next CIA director.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press, citing a United Nations report, said that the number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan had shot up 72 percent and that they had also become more deadly in 2012, even as the number of civilian deaths had decreased. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

12PM to 1PM Fresh Air

Fresh Air

This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

Listen Live Now!

1PM to 2PM Talk of the Nation

Talk of the Nation

Journalist Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape.

View the program guide!

2PM to 3PM PRI's The World

PRI's The World

Get a fresh perspective of people, events and trends that shape our world. Host Lisa Mullins covers a wide range of topics, including science, business, technology, sports, art and music.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center