Drone Strikes

Military Drone Strikes – Are They Justified?

Presenter: John Pope

September, 2015

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones, are remotely-controlled aircraft which may be armed with missiles and bombs for attack missions. Since the World Trade Center attacks of Sep. 11, 2001 and the subsequent “War on Terror,” the United States has used drones to kill suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries. Proponents say that drones have decimated terrorist networks abroad via precise strikes with minimal civilian casualties. They contend that drones are relatively inexpensive weapons, are used under proper government oversight, and that their use helps prevent “boots on the ground” combat and makes America safer. Opponents say that drone strikes create more terrorists than they kill. They contend that drone strikes kill large numbers of civilians, violate international law, lack sufficient congressional oversight, violate the sovereignty of other nations, and make the horrors of war appear as innocuous as a video game.

 “In conclusion, the United States is apparently responsible for multiple war crimes under the various international laws by employing questionable tactics in drone strikes conducted in the Middle East.”

“‘Will I be Next?’ US Drone Strikes in Pakistan” “…the USA has launched some 330 to 374 drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and September 2013. Amnesty International is not in a position to endorse these figures, but according to these sources, between 400 and 900 civilians have been killed in these attacks and at least 600 people seriously injured.”


How do drones differ from conventional weapons? How many civilian deaths are acceptable”?

Do drone strikes create more terrorists than they kill? Should we worry about drones getting into the ‘wrong’ hands? What is the future of drone technology?

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