Speed Reads

game of drones

George W. Bush launched 50 drone strikes. Obama has launched 500.

The debate over the ethics of drone use has been launched back into the spotlight by the United Kingdom's revelation that, like the United States, it has a "kill list" of drone targets, including some of its own citizens. But it is still America — specifically, President Barack Obama — who leads the world in drone use.

While Obama's predecessor George W. Bush conducted about 50 drone strikes, the current president has launched 10 times that number. Most American drone strikes have targeted Pakistan, though drone use has declined there in recent years while it continues in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

The one American Washington admits to assassinating is al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, though several other U.S. citizens have been killed as well. One of them was al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was killed in a targeted strike two weeks after his father's death. He was not suspected of any terrorist activity.