Obama's Drones Have Killed More Than the Spanish Inquisition
Controversy still swirls around Obama's comments during the National Prayer Breakfast this week, where he chastised Christians for getting on their "high horse" over the ongoing global jihad, invoking medieval abuses that occurred hundreds of years ago during the Crusades and Inquisition.
But perhaps it is Obama who should avoid getting on his high horse, since according to recently published statistics, Obama's drone campaign has killed more people during the six years of his presidency than were killed the 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition.
In his speech on Thursday, he said:
Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
Fair enough. But how is Obama himself doing on that score?
Well, on Monday of this week the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published their annual study of deaths from U.S. drone strikes, and reported the following:
At least 2,464 people have now been killed by US drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones since President Barack Obama’s inauguration six years ago, the Bureau’s latest monthly report reveals.
Of the total killed since Obama took his oath of office on January 20 2009, at least 314 have been civilians, while the number of confirmed strikes under his administration now stands at 456.
Research by the Bureau also shows there have now been nearly nine times more strikes under Obama in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than there were under his predecessor, George W Bush.
And the covert Obama strikes, the first of which hit Pakistan just three days after his inauguration, have killed almost six times more people and twice as many civilians than those ordered in the Bush years, the data shows.
The figures have been compiled as part of the Bureau’s monthly report into covert US drone attacks, which are run in two separate missions – one by the CIA and one for the Pentagon by its secretive special forces outfit, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
The research centers on countries outside the US’s declared war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
So how does that number of 2,464 killed in Obama's drone program -- not including those killed in Iraq or Afghanistan -- compare to, say, the Spanish Inquisition?
A decade ago the Vatican published the results of a six-year study of the Inquisition, including the number of those killed across Europe. With respect to the 350-year-long Inquisition in Spain, the BBC reported that the study found the following:
According to the 800-page report, the Inquisition that spread fear throughout Europe throughout the Middle Ages did not use execution or torture to anything like the extent history would have us believe.
In fact the book's editor, Professor Agostino Borromeo, claims that in Spain only 1.8% of those investigated by the notorious Spanish Inquisition were killed.
Nonetheless, as the report was published, Pope John Paul II apologised once more for the interrogators' excesses, expressing sorrow for "the errors committed in the service of the truth by the recourse to non-Christian methods" [...]
But the Vatican report, the product of a six-year investigation, insists that the Inquisition was not as bad as often believed.
Professor Borromeo says for example that for 125,000 trials of suspected heretics in Spain, less than 2% were executed.
A quick calculation finds that 1.8 percent of 125,000 would represent 2,250 killed during the Spanish Inquisition if Prof. Borromeo's estimates are correct.
So Barack Obama has killed at least 2,500 in drone strikes during the six years of his presidency, not including those killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Spanish Inquisition reportedly killed 2,250 over 350 years. For comparative purposes, I would note, as I reported here at PJ Media last month, that Boko Haram reportedly killed 2,000 over several days in a massacre in Northern Nigeria.
Be careful of the fall off that high horse, Mr. President...