With drones, no Christmas ceasefire

Two U.S. drone strikes were carried out in Yemen on Christmas Eve

By Natasha Lennard
Published December 27, 2012 4:32PM (EST)
    (Paul Fleet/Shutterstock)
(Paul Fleet/Shutterstock)

The U.S. carried out two drone strikes in Yemen over the Christmas holiday. On Christmas Eve, a vehicle carrying two suspected al-Qaida militants was hit by a U.S. missiles and later than night five "unidentified" individuals were killed in another U.S. strike from an unmanned aerial vehicle.

As Kevin Gosztola pointed out, the attacks highlight how drone technology have put an end to traditional American ceasefires over Christmas:

There was no ceasefire from the Obama administration during the holiday. In fact, it appears they waited until Christmas Eve on purpose to conduct a couple strikes as there had not been action in the covert drone war in Yemen for well over a month.

In earlier wars, there may have been some kind of a truce because most of the soldiers and their families would be celebrating Christmas, however, characteristic of drone warfare, the drone pilots who carried out the order to fire upon suspected militants were nowhere near the area of the strike. They were completely detached and, depending on where they were when they directed the flying killer robot to attack, they were likely able to go home and see their family on Christmas Eve.

As Reuters noted, the Christmas strikes "were the first in almost two months by pilotless aircraft against suspected al-Qaida men in Yemen" where the U.S. has escalated its shadow war over the past year.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Al-qaida Drones Uavs U.s. Military Yemen