Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Obama acknowledges civilian deaths by U.S. drones

President Barack Obama says “vigorous criteria” is being used on intelligence about targets.

President Barack Obama says “vigorous criteria” is being used on intelligence about targets.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that "civilians were killed that shouldn't have been" in past U.S. drone strikes, but said the administration is now "very cautious" about striking where women or children are present.

Obama was asked at a news conference about an increase in the number of people targeted in drone strikes against extremists in Libya, Syria, Somalia and elsewhere.

"In the past, there was legitimate criticism that the legal architecture around the use of drone strikes wasn't as precise as it should have been," Obama said. "There's no doubt that civilians were killed that shouldn't have been."

He added that over the last several years, the administration has worked to prevent civilian deaths.

"In situations of war, you know, we have to take responsibility when we're not acting appropriately," Obama said.

Recent drone and other airstrikes against extremist targets have killed large numbers of people. A strike on an Islamic State training camp in western Libya in February killed more than 40 people; a drone strike in Somalia against al-Shabab on March 5 killed 150 people. Another drone strike, in Yemen in February, killed dozens.

The United States came under heavy criticism for a drone strike several years ago against extremists in Yemen, which critics said actually hit a wedding party and killed women and children.

In October, an AC-130 gunship mistakenly hit a hospital in Afghanistan that was run by the charity organization Doctors Without Borders. The group has demanded that the strike be investigated as a war crime. The Pentagon disciplined several officers and enlisted personnel for their part in the attack.

Obama said Friday the United States uses "vigorous criteria" for getting intelligence on targeting, and that intelligence is "checked, double-checked, triple-checked before kinetic actions are taken."

He said the United States is targeting camps that are clearly "involved in and directing plots that could do the United States harm or are supporting ISIL activities or al-Qaida activities."

Then, he said, "a strike will be taken."

Obama acknowledges civilian deaths by U.S. drones 04/01/16 [Last modified: Friday, April 1, 2016 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  2. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  3. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  4. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane

    Bucs

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.