Barack Obama wiped away tears at the White House as he expressed grief over the children killed in the Connecticut massacre and promised "meaningful action" to prevent similar shooting rampages in the future.
Obama, speaking in the White House press room, said the loss of innocent lives had broken hearts. "As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago – these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children.
Just minutes earlier, he broke down while delivering the statement. He said: "The majority of those who died today were children – beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old." Choking up, tears welling in his eyes, he paused for what seemed like an interminable time, though it was only 10 seconds.
He went on: "They had their entire lives ahead of them – birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own." He then had to pause again.
Based on international and Pakistani news reports and research on the ground, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has issued a new study on civilians killed by American drones, concluding that at least 385 civilians have been killed in the past seven years, including at least 168 children.
Here’s a taste of the report, which can be read in full here (warning: graphic images):
Pakistani father Din Mohammad had the misfortune to live next door to militants in Danda Darpakhel, North Waziristan. His neighbours were reportedly part of the Haqqani Network, a group fighting US forces in nearby Afghanistan.
On September 8 2010, the CIA’s Reaper drones paid a visit. Hellfire missiles tore into the compound killing six alleged militants.
One of the Hellfires missed its target, and Din Mohammad’s house was hit. He survived. But his son, his two daughters and his nephew all died. His eldest boy had been a student at a Waziristan military cadet college. The other three children were all below school age.An Obama administration official told ABC that these numbers are “way off the mark” — but, tellingly, did so on the condition of anonymity, meaning he or she will be protected from any accountability.
20 children were killed today in a horrific event in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
Barack Obama wept for those children in his address to the nation today.
How many children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia has Barack Obama killed as a result of drone strikes he's ordered?
What happened in Sandy Hook today is unspeakable.
So is U.S. drone policy.
Obama can spare us all the crocodile tears - he's got torrents of blood on his own hands.