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Carney: Drone Strikes Have "Significantly Limited Civilian Casualties"

QUESTION: Jay, thanks. I want to go back to the drone strikes. The New York Times is pointing out that a number of military and intelligence officials have expressed concern that the drone strikes might actually be creating more militants in areas like Yemen than they're killing. Is that one of the effects? Are they having the reverse impact?

JAY CARNEY: Well, I would -- in terms of the broader effort, I would refer you to the Pentagon -- the broader effort in terms of dealing with al Qaeda. But the fact is, as John Brennan and others have made clear, our counterterrorism efforts are designed -- including our targeted efforts -- to limit civilian casualties. And I think any fair assessment of those efforts would draw you to the conclusion that they have significantly limited civilian casualties, I think.

QUESTION: Civilians have been killed.

CARNEY: Well, again I’m not disputing that necessarily, although I won't talk about specific instances. But the fact is, is that the methods that we use are designed specifically to avoid civilian casualties. I think it’s fair to say that far fewer civilians lose their lives in an effort to go after senior leadership in al Qaeda along the lines that we are discussing here as opposed to an effort to invade a country with hundreds of thousands of troops and take cities and towns.

So I think that these are issues that obviously concern everyone involved in the effort to combat al Qaeda and to deal with the region as a whole. So that aspect of it is one that is very much in the front of everybody’s minds when they make these decisions and move forward with actions.

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