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"How Do You Justify Killing a Grandmother?" Amnesty Says U.S. Drone Strikes May Be War Crimes

Amnesty International has released a major new report on how U.S. drone strikes kill civilians in Pakistan, where it

http://www.democracynow.org/images/story/33/23533/w320/mamana_bibi.jpg?20131002

says some deaths may amount to war crimes. The group reviewed 45 drone strikes that have occurred in North Waziristan since January 2012. It found at least 19 civilians were killed in just two of those strikes, despite claims by the Obama administration it is accurately targeting militants. In a separate report, Human Rights Watch criticized U.S. drone strikes in Yemen that have killed civilians. We are joined by Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan researcher at Amnesty International and author of the report, "'Will I be Next?' U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan." Qadri asks: "How do they justify killing a grandmother if these weapons are so precise, if their standards and their policies for using them are very rigorous?" He also clarifies, "It’s not enough that a person is a militant to say that it’s OK to kill them. They have to be taking active part in hostilities to be lawfully targeted, and some other requirements as well."

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: President Obama is scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart later today amidst rising tension around U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. The meeting between Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif comes as Amnesty International has released a major new report on how U.S. drone strikes kill civilians in Pakistan, where it says some drone killings may amount to war crimes. The group reviewed 45 drone strikes that have occurred in North Warizistan since January 2012. It found at least 19 civilians were killed in just two of those strikes, despite claims by the Obama administration it is accurately targeting militants.

In a separate report, Human Rights Watch criticized U.S. drone strikes in Yemen that have killed civilians.

On Tuesday, White House spokesperson Jay Carney defended the legality of the U.S. drone program.

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: To the extent these reports claim that the U.S. has acted contrary to international law, we would strongly disagree. The administration has repeatedly emphasized the extraordinary care that we take to make sure counterterrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable law.

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