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Washington (AFP) – The United States on Tuesday denied its drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan and elsewhere infringed international law and said it did all it could to avoid civilian casualties.

The comments followed the publication of reports on the U.S. drone war by two human rights groups, and came a day before Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to bring up concerns about the U.S. tactic at White House talks.

“We are reviewing these reports carefully,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “To the extent these reports claim that the U.S. has acted contrary to international law, we would strongly disagree. The administration has repeatedly emphasized the extraordinary care that we take to make sure counterterrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable law.”

Carney also said that by deciding to use drone aircraft against terror suspects, rather than sending in troops or using other weapons, Washington was “choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.”

Earlier Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch unveiled reports detailing civilian casualties in a number of U.S. operations in Pakistan and Yemen.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are jointly calling on Congress to fully investigate the cases the two organizations have documented as well as other potentially unlawful strikes, and to disclose any evidence of human rights violations to the public. Those responsible for unlawful killings should be appropriately disciplined or prosecuted.

The groups called on Obama to provide a full legal rationale for targeted killings in Yemen and elsewhere.

Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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