It began as a dribble. Then a trickle. And then, a torrent.
More than 3,000 people have died as a result of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Of those, no more than about 1.5 percent have involved the deaths of high-profile Taliban targets. The rest exist in a legal gray zone created by the uncertainties of war. Some may have been innocent bystanders; others, dangerous militants. Still more could have been both — Taliban sympathizers who were in an unfortunate place at the wrong time.
The drone war may have begun during the Bush administration, but as this data visualization from California-based Pitch Interactive makes clear, it's President Obama who has taken ownership of it.
Both the pace and the scale of the drone attacks have risen dramatically on Obama's watch. The trend is worth watching further as the Pentagon plans a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.
Transparency groups have little more than news reports and other public data to go on. Still, even that limited data set is enough to show the extent of Washington's love affair with drones.