Britain flew 307 sorties using drones, firing 102 Hellfire missiles, in just the first six months of operations against Isis in Iraq.
Flights over Syria, which accounted for only 10 per cent of the UK’s air missions in the region in January, had risen to 40 per cent by May, although these were for reconnaissance only until the killing of the British jihadists on 21 August. The unmanned Reapers flying the missions have been moved from Afghanistan where the UK has carried out hundreds of strikes alongside the US for years.
The drone attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq claimed many lives, but they were of foreigners, and there was relatively little fuss about them over here. What is causing controversy now, of course, is that two British nationals have been killed by British Reapers, with the question asked whether the Government is allowed to execute without trial.
The US faced similar questions after a drone was used to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, in Yemen. Before and since then, US drones have killed hundreds of foreigners, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with their use rising dramatically since Barack Obama, the holder of the Nobel Peace Prize, became President.