The White House was forced to concede on Thursday that it killed two innocent hostages – one American, one Italian – in a drone strike that targeted an al-Qaida compound despite officials not knowing precisely who was in the vicinity. The deaths of Dr Warren Weinstein, a US government aid worker, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker, who were being held captive in the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region, have placed unprecedented pressure on Barack Obama’s secret program of targeted drone killings. They mark the first time a US drone strike has inadvertently killed innocent hostages, and have forced the Obama administration to disclose an unprecedented amount of information about what would typically be a highly classified operation. Full story >>
The cartoon is by Steve Sack, editorial cartoonist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. An unmanned drone is shown firing a missile at 'America's enemies', while simultaneously dropping 'sympathy cards for innocent bystanders' by parachute. The point the cartoonist is making is fairly clear — it's not only terrorists who are being killed by indiscriminate US drone strikes.
A bystander is someone who is in a particular place by chance when an accident or an unusual event happens but who is not directly connected with it. • Three innocent bystanders were wounded in the explosion.
1. This is one of two cartoons in the latest edition of Cartoons for the Classroom, where you can also find some discussion questions. The Cagle Post also has a cartoon collection about drone warfare.
2. Drone warfare is also the subject of the new movie Good Kill, which stars Ethan Hawke as an Air Force drone pilot who begins to question the ethics of his job.