Drones: a history in tweets

Josh Begley, realizing how little Americans know or understand about their own country’s drone warfare, began tweeting the entire history of American drone strikes yesterday. He’s still going:

For the past several years, Begley, who previously worked at an organizationthat uses technology to advance social-justice movements, has felt a nagging need to open Americans’ eyes to the reality of this method of warfare. Begley himself says he “started caring about the issue because I knew so little about [drones].” Then Jane Mayer’s 2009 New Yorker piece, “The Predator War,” which brought readers into the air-conditioned Langley, Va., offices from which drone attacks are ordered, got him thinking.

Drones “bring up all sorts of interesting questions about the intersection of technology and international law and human rights,” he told The Daily Beast. “A bureaucratic chain of command deciding to execute [people] outside any law is a very interesting concept intellectually.” And so, last summer, he set to work designing an app that would map U.S. strikes, to bring a far-away war into the palms of everyday Americans.

Drone+, as the application is called, culls public information compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism about U.S. attacks, translates the data into a user-friendly map, and pushes notifications to users every time a new strike hits.

A representative sampling: