Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I previously wrote about the way our drone debate was happening in America: largely focused on the infinitesimal possibility of American deaths while ignoring the plight of the thousands of Pakistani civilians that have died in the strikes.

Today I stumbled upon Out of Sight, Out of Mind, a stunning visualization of America’s drone war in Pakistan.

The Economist writes,

The project was the brainchild of Wesley Grubbs, the creative and technology director at Pitch. He collected the data and guided the narration and animation development. Mladen Balog created the initial designs and its overall look and feel. Nicholas Yahnke did some data research and verification, and built the site in HTML5. It took four weeks to pull together.

Check it out.

Author: SEAN MCELWEE

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5 Comments

  1. I don’t understand how you are concluding that thousands of Pakastani civilians have been killed in these strikes. The visualization to which you link estimates 710 total deaths for civilians and children. Similarly your earlier article states that thousands of Pakastanis have been killed while walking to work, but you don’t present any evidence for this assertion, and I have not seen any such evidence provided elsewhere.

    I agree with you that the drone strikes should stop, and I would probably even go as far as voting for a Republican if I thought he/she would end this policy, but I don’t think that truth is strengthened by exaggeration.

  2. The category with the most deaths is “other”. I guess that means it could be anybody? I understand the use of drones in specific instances but don’t like the way they are being overused. I think it would be naive to imagine a republican president would rely less on drones than Obama, but that is not a defense. Drone use probably represents my biggest beef with Obama. I find their increased use to be very troubling, for reasons described in other discussion at TMV on this topic. When we start seeing them in our own skies (even for “civilian” purposes) I expect the conversation to ramp up and spread quite a bit, at least I hope it does.

  3. What is the definition of “other”? If not civilians, then who/what?

  4. The definition of “other” used by the Obama administration is a military-aged male, unless proven not to be a combatant after-the-fact. In other words, me, if I lived in Pakistan. That definition may work in a traditional war-zone, but not where there are civilians present. The website puts it well when it says what we do know is they did not have a chance to defend their innocence.

    The typical argument supporting this type of action is that this is the cost of defending ourselves against terrorism–which could take many more lives. That may be true, but I think while the argument may be mathematically sound, it is morally flawed. I think the correct way to look at is this: Am I willing to put up with these consequences from actions that are carried out on my behalf (and therefore I must take my share of responsibility) in order to diminish my chances of being killed in a terrorist attack from infinitesimally small to (maybe) even smaller?

  5. I think while the argument may be mathematically sound, it is morally flawed

    Well said.

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