Josh Begley set out to tweet a complete history of known U.S. drone strikes Tuesday with the goal of doing it all in ten minutes. Except there were way too many strikes to tweet, so his original plan fell apart pretty quickly.
You might recognize Begley's name. He is the guy who designed the iPhone app that mapped all the U.S. drone strikes worldwide using publicly available information. Apple removed it multiple times from the App Store this summer. So Begley set out anew to tweet the entire history of drone strikes, spanning over a decade, from an account he created especially for the project, @DroneStream:
Nov 3, 2002: In the first known US targeted assassination using a drone, a CIA Predator struck a car, killing 6 (Yemen) news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/2402479.s…— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 11, 2012
That was the first one that went up this morning. Each tweet accompanies a corresponding news story reporting the strike. Begley told the Daily Beast that his project is for an NYU graduate class called Narrative Lab. Begley said the effort is "about the way stories are told on new social media platforms."
The amount of strikes outnumbered the amount of tweets he could properly deliver in ten minutes, so his original plan was foiled:
Alright, I lied. Too many strikes to tweet. @dronestream is going to take a lot longer than 10 minutes.— Josh Begley (@joshbegley) December 11, 2012
Begley's little — or not so little — social media experiment is a chilling reminder of the vastness that has been this past decade in morally questionable killing. And, as Begley himself points out, he's only documenting the strikes we know about, and doesn't include strikes in Afghanistan. The only strike Begley tweeted not from Pakistan is the one embedded above. And he's still going. The latest came about fifteen minutes before this went to press, and he doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. Begley started about five hours ago.
Forget @SeinfeldToday — if this project doesn't merit an A, we would love to see one that does.