Pitch Interactive, a data visualization shop in Berkeley, California, has produced an interactive infographic illustrating the results of US drone attacks in Pakistan. I can’t embed it, but clicking on the link will take you to a 90-seconds chronological overview.
Clicking on the ATTACKS, VICTIMS, NEWS, and INFO links in the upper left corner of the infographic adds background information and sources.
Less than 2% of the victims are high-profile targets.
The rest are civilians, children and alleged combatants.
This is the story of every known drone strike and victim in Pakistan.
Since 2004, the US has been practicing in a new kind of clandestine military operation. The justification for using drones to take out enemy targets is appealing because it removes the risk of losing American military, it’s much cheaper than deploying soldiers, it’s politically much easier to maneuver (i.e. flying a drone within Pakistan vs. sending troops) and it keeps the world in the dark about what is actually happening. It takes the conflict out of sight, out of mind. The success rate is extremely low and the cost on civilian lives and the general well-being of the population is very high. This project helps to bring light on the topic of drones. Not to speak for or against, but to inform and to allow you to see for yourself whether you can support drone usage or not.
How often has the US attacked targets in Pakistan with unmanned drones, and how many of those killed have been children, civilians, putative insurgents, or “high-value” military targets?
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has prepared an interactive graphic to help answer these questions, which you can try for yourself by clicking the screenshot below.
Definitely worth a look. The bureau summarizes the results:
The justification for using drones to take out enemy targets is appealing because it removes the risk of losing American military, it’s much cheaper than deploying soldiers, it’s politically much easier to maneuver (i.e. flying a drone within Pakistan vs. sending troops) and it keeps the world in the dark about what is actually happening. It takes the conflict out of sight, out of mind. The success rate is extremely low and the cost on civilian lives and the general well-being of the population is very high.
The interactive graphic has two views. The Attack View pictured above shows each attack chronologically; the Victim View focuses on the people killed in each strike.
The category of victims we call “OTHER” is classified differently depending on the source. The Obama administration classifies any able-bodied male a military combatant unless evidence is brought forward to prove otherwise. This is a very grey area for us. These could be neighbors of a target killed. They may all be militants and a threat. What we do know for sure is that they are targeted without being given any representation or voice to defend themselves.
With increasingly sophisticated drones become ever more widely available, how long before the US regrets opening this particular Pandora’s box?
Where do refugees come from? Where do they go? Which countries produce the most refugees? Which countries take the most in?
Christian Behrens, a German designer who studied at Concordia, answers those questions visually with a series of interactive infographics that grew out of a Potsdam University of Applied Sciences class project on mapping global tendencies.
Based on the annual Refugee Report of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, the graphic lets us look at refugee flows from several different perspectives.
Which country took in the most refugees in 2008? The US? Nope. Canada? Not even close. Pakistan tops the list, at 1,780,150. Iran, Jordan, Germany, and Syria each take in many more people in flight than the US and Canada combined. Here’s Syria, which took in 1,104,523 refugees in 2008, mostly from Iraq, but also from the Gaza Strip and Somalia:
Don’t waste your time with these screenshots. Check out the interactive versions.
From Fastcodesign, via Costas Halavrezos and Gillian Barfoot.
Salon’s Glenn Greenwald digs out a prescient morning-after column by Hunter S. Thompson of all people, published on 9/12/2001:
The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.
It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. Osama bin Laden may be a primitive “figurehead” — or even dead, for all we know — but whoever put those All-American jet planes loaded with All-American fuel into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon did it with chilling precision and accuracy. The second one was a dead-on bullseye. Straight into the middle of the skyscraper.
Nothing — even George Bush’s $350 billion “Star Wars” missile defense system — could have prevented Tuesday’s attack, and it cost next to nothing to pull off. Fewer than 20 unarmed Suicide soldiers from some apparently primitive country somewhere on the other side of the world took out the World Trade Center and half the Pentagon with three quick and costless strikes on one day. The efficiency of it was terrifying.
We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them.
This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won’t hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.