Chris Woods is an investigative journalist who specializes in conflict and national security issues. A former senior BBC Panorama producer, he has authored several investigations into covert U.S. drone strikes and their effects.
The CIA is very high on armed drones which they call "the most precise weapon ever invented." Former President George Bush praised this weapon of war for its ability to deliver "sudden justice" to enemies beyond the battlefield. And President Barack Obama has authorized eight times as many strikes as his predecessor did in Pakistan alone. For him and most likely for others who follow in his train, these weapons in the war against terrorism are effective tools for assassinations.
But some Americans still question the widespread and growing uses of drones to kill "targeted" individuals in Yemen and Pakistan. Research by Reprieve reveals that U.S. strikes on 41 targeted persons have killed as many as 1,147 civilians who were nearby at the time. The infrastructure surrounding these operations is immense and often cloaked in secrecy.
By 2010 there were more drone pilots than fighter and bomber pilots combined. A number of them are profiled in this book. They reveal that drone pilots are now being treated for PTSD.
Make no mistake, drones are here to stay no matter what legal, human rights, and other ethical issues are stirred up by their use. This report by veteran investigative reporter Chris Woods hits the target squarely.