May 4, 2012
Matthew Fricker Published in Perspectives on Terrorism: A Journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative
Matthew Fricker, a Monterey Institute student in the Masters in non-proliferation and terrorism studies program, co-authored an article that was recently published in Perspectives on Terrorism, a prestigious journal that focuses on terrorism research.
The article, titled: Practice Makes Perfect?: The Changing Civilian Toll of CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan, can be found at the links below.
U.S. officials have recently claimed that the CIA has sharply reduced the number of civilian casualties resulting from covert Predator and Reaper drone strikes in the Taliban-controlled agencies of Northwest Pakistan. Critics, especially in Pakistan, along with human rights NGOs have, however, questioned these claims. This article examines independent databases tracking the drone strikes and finds that there is significant support for the U.S. officials’ claims, or at least for their more moderate assertions. It also briefly reviews the explanations that have been offered for the declining civilian death toll from drone strikes. It shows that there is reason to believe that this development is the deliberate result of adjustments to CIA targeting procedures and improvements in spy networks and technology, and thus is likely to prove broadly sustainable at least for the immediate future.
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