US Slams Drone Jockeys for Killing Afghan Civilians

Operators ordered to undergo increased training
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2010 8:13 AM CDT
US Slams Drone Jockeys for Killing Afghan Civilians
In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, a US Predator drone flies over the moon above Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – The US military has released a harsh self-critique, blaming the “inaccurate and unprofessional” actions of Predator drone operators for the deaths of 23 Afghan civilians in a February strike. Six servicemembers have been disciplined, reports the New York TImes, in a report that underscores the importance being placed on avoiding civilian casualties.

The Predator crew was operating out of Creech AFB in Nevada, and, “Information that the convoy was anything other than an attacking force was ignored or downplayed by the Predator crew,” reads the report, while the "the ground force commander lacked a clear understanding of who was in the vehicles." Gen. Stanley McChrystal has apologized to Hamid Karzai, and has ordered more stringent training measures.
(Read more drone strike stories.)

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