After killing a record 700 civilians last year in at least 44 distinct drone strikes against Pakistan in 2009, the Obama Administration looks to be escalating the rate even further in 2010, to the point that drone strikes have become a decidedly ordinary occurrence.
Less than four months into the new year, the US has already launched 40 attacks and killed at least 268 people. The most recent strike yesteray in North Waziristan killed at least nine people.
The identities of the victims are never particularly easy to ascertain, but the number of named militants killed so far this year is trivial, as it was last year, when most of the “suspects” turned out to have no discernible relation to any militant faction.
Since taking office, President Obama has repeatedly escalated the drone strikes against the tribal areas, to the point where multiple attacks a week are a matter of course. With the normal winter lull seeing such a large number of strikes, a new record for killings seems all but assured again in 2010.