How Many Constitutional Freedoms Do We Still Have?
Preface: While a lot of people talk about the loss of our Constitutional liberties, people usually speak in a vague, generalized manner … or focus on only one issue and ignore the rest.
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.
Micah Zenko, at his CFR blog, caught an obscure statement Sen. Lindsey Graham made yesterday during a speech at the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, South Carolina. Graham issued the boilerplate defense of the drone war and then might have let something slip.
Graham then added: “We’ve killed 4,700. Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al-Qaeda.” His estimate of the death toll of suspected terrorists and militants by U.S. nonbattlefield targeted killings is higher than any other reported.My report, Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies, compiled the averages found within the ranges provided by New America Foundation, Long War Journal, and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and produced a number about 1,200 fewer.
It is notable that Graham’s estimate nearly matches the TBIJ’s highest estimated range for “total reported killed” in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia: 4,756. Either Graham is a big fan of TBIJ’s work, or perhaps he inadvertently revealed the U.S. government’s body count for nonbattlefield targeted killings.
Update: Just a reminder to help put this 4,700 in context: the Standford/NYU study of the drone war found that, “The number of ‘high-level’ targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low—estimated at just 2%.”