Drones: Obama’s dirty war?

A film by Benoit Bringer and Jean-Baptiste Renaud
First broadcast October 28, 2013 on Canal+

If you want to know how a leading a war can be compatible with a Nobel Peace Prize, ask President Obama.

According to the US government, unmanned drones are the perfect weapon to pursue the “War on Terror”. Of surgical precision and preventing risk to American life, drones are the way to make it “clean”. Under the Obama administration, the use of drone strikes has exploded. Faced with a backlash about Guantanamo Bay’s endless detention of suspects, this tactical program is preferred as it also spares civilian life. But is that really the case?

This investigation takes us to Yemen and Pakistan, where most drone strikes occur. And kill innocent civilians, including women and children. We meet these invisible victims, the dark side of supposedly surgical drone attacks. Civilian casualties are much higher than Washington admits.

Exclusive footage and testimonies collected with the help of local reporters and NGOs prove the illegality of this remote-controlled war.

In Yemen, the small village of Kawell was struck by a drone in January 2013. As a local chief of Al Qaeda was targeted, two civilians got killed: Salim, a 21-year-old student and Ali, a 31-year-old Arabic teacher from the local school. This was established by their grieving families who provided evidence and by an official inquiry from the Ministry for Home Affairs.

The alleged “clean” war turns out to be dirty.

The film goes on to Pakistan with harrowing footage. This is where 350 drone strikes have been carried out since 2004, mostly in tribal North-West. This is where civilian casualties are the highest. According to Peshawar’s Justice Court, 3000 people got killed, most of them being civilians.

Apparently, most of the time, the United-States doesn’t really know who gets killed in Pakistan. Due to a even more worrying “signature strikes” system, which turns any man or group of men, old enough for military service, in possession of weapons and/or driving a vehicle as a legitimate target. They are suspected to have terror links, despite the lack of solid evidence.

According to many experts, missiles dropped by American drones are actually sewing tomorrow’s terrorists. By killing innocent civilians, America’s “War on Terror” raises anti-western hatred and turns out counterproductive.