In the 21 months since his inauguration, President Obama has ordered or approved 120 drone attacks on Pakistan. There were 22 such attacks in September 2010 alone, reportedly killing more than 100 people. In contrast, Obama's predecessor Bush ordered just 60 attacks in eight years.
Obama has made drones the centerpiece of his strategy in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida. These terrifying weapons circle over Afghanistan and Pakistan, changing the war and making it colder and more anonymous than before. They pose a constant threat, can be operated with the push of a button and, according to the CIA, are precise -- at least most of the time.
The drone war is being waged by the US Army, by the US Air Force and, most of all, by the CIA. It is taking place in a shadowy realm beyond the reach of war tribunals, public debate and the media. The only time it made headlines recently, and then only for a day, was when it resulted in the deaths of a number of German citizens. The men, who were killed in a drone attack on Oct. 4, were presumed terrorists who were passing through the town of Mir Ali in the Pakistani region of North Waziristan....
The CIA doesn't release any numbers -- not about its successes and certainly not about civilian casualties. It attacked Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban, 16 times. In other words, either informants or the drones' cameras identified Mehsud's location 16 times and the drones fired 16 times. The first 15 tries failed. Then, in the last attempt, when the report was correct and Mehsud was in fact at his father-in-law's house, Mehsud and 10 friends and relatives were killed. According to sources in Islamabad, CIA drones killed some 700 civilians in 2009.
Obama's Shadowy Drone War: Taking Out the Terrorists by Remote Control - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International