Government officials urged President Obama to take full responsibility after two hostages held by Al Qaeda were killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan in January. Mr. Obama stated in the White House briefing room, “As president and commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations. I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families.” Officials said that they had no idea that the two hostages, Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, were being held there despite hundreds of hours of surveillance before the strike. Warren Weinstein was an American citizen, who had been held by Al Qaeda since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto was an Italian man who had been held since 2012 - their deaths were just confirmed on Thursday. Mr. Weinstein was a business development expert working on contract for the United States Agency for International Development when he was kidnapped in Lahore, Pakistan, just four days before he was scheduled to return home to his family. The president did not explain why it took three months to reveal the incident; however intelligence agencies had picked up information of their deaths months ago but were unsure of how they died. It took weeks to associate their deaths with the drone strikes and until this week it wasn’t confirmed confidently enough to bring to the president. Al Qaeda released videos of Mr. Weinstein, and news media reports as recently as last week indicating that he was still assumed to be alive.
If intelligence agencies had received information back in January of the death of Mr. Weinstein, I don’t understand why Al Qaeda was releasing videos of him to convince everyone that he was alive. I feel as though this was an unforeseeable mistake made by the United States, and I think that killing has become justification for more killing. In the world we live in today, killing has just become a perpetuated cycle that never ends. I feel sorry for the families and wish them my condolences but we must also remember all of the other innocent civilians who have lost their lives in this ongoing cycle of death.