The Hypocrisy of Obama's $1.2 Million Payout to Italian Man's Family for Drone Striking Him

(ANTIMEDIA) When Paris experienced the infamous terror attacks in November last year, much of the world was asking why innocent lives lost in Paris were more important than those regularly lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, or even in Beirut a few days prior. After all, Facebook and the rest of the media prioritized the Paris attacks.

If ever there was proof that certain nationalities are more important than others when it comes to civilian deaths, President Obama himself confirmed it in July of this year when he paid $1.2 million to the family of an Italian aid worker who was killed by an American drone strike last year.

In addition to providing this sizeable compensation, President Obama also publicly acknowledged and apologized for the killings of Giovanni Lo Porto and Warren Weinstein – an Italian and an American held hostage at an al-Qaeda compound in Pakistan. While it is heart-warming to see the Obama administration is capable of publicly apologizing and taking responsibility for the loss of innocent lives, what we are actually witnessing is special treatment of the most prejudiced kind imaginable.

According to the Obama administration, between 64 and 116 civilians have been killed as a result of the controversial drone program currently being implemented in countries the U.S. has not officially declared war against, such as Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. However, this estimate could not be further from the truth according to a number of reports that have attempted to document the program since its inception.

According to David Kilcullen, former counterinsurgency advisor to General David Petraeus from 2006 to 2008, and Andrew Exum, an army officer in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2002 to 2004, Pakistani press reports indicated that over a three-year period between 2006-2009, American drone strikes had killed 700 civilians and only 14 terrorist leaders. This is equivalent to killing 50 civilians for every one terrorist target – a hit rate of two percent.

This has continued to be the case since these early reports were issued — despite the Obama administration’s denial of these facts. The Guardian reported in 2014 that the human rights group known as Reprieve found attempts to kill 41 men (terrorists) had resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people.

When Obama’s drone program killed American-born Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son in 2011, al-Awlaki’s family was not provided with $1.2 million. Instead, Robert Gibbs, the former White House Press Secretary, responded by suggesting al-Awlaki should have “had a more responsible father.”

According to The Intercept’s “The Drone Papers,” at least 90 percent of those killed by American drone strikes have been civilians. The reason the Obama administration can make such ludicrous claims regarding the civilian death toll is because it has opted to classify any military-age male who happens to be in the strike area as a combatant.

Even if the Obama administration’s estimate were correct, the fact remains that none of these victims have received compensation as sizable as $1.2 million. Monetary compensation for the local victims of American aggression amounts to approximately $3,000, and these payments only began years after there had already been hundreds of deaths reported from Obama’s drone strike program.

So, what is the cost of a human life? Apparently, if you are an Italian it is $1.2 million. If you are an Afghan, it is $3,000 and the comfort of knowing that you are not a person. You are an incorrectly analyzed statistic.

This article (The Hypocrisy of Obama’s $1.2 Million Payout to Italian Man’s Family for Drone Striking Him) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Darius Shahtahmasebi and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to