1 February 2013
Drones For or Against?
First came professional war, then privatized war, then mercenary and outsourced war – all of which made war ever more remote from most Americans. Finally, both literally and figuratively, came remote war itself. People map the evolution of U.S. warfare from the professional war (post-Vietnam era when soldiers are no longer drafted but paid volunteers) to the privatized war (1990s when corporations become more involved in warfare) to the mercenary and outsourced war (post 9/11 era when for-profit industrial complex carries out military and intelligence responsibilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere) to the next phase, remote war (drone warfare carried out by machines).
To begin drone warfare is now the highlight of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism strategy in Central Asia — and one it is increasingly exporting to places such as Yemen and the Horn of Africa. While used in attacks, drones are also used for surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence. Until recently drone warfare was one of the most secretive programs of the U.S. government, though it is now under the scrutiny of the media worldwide. The “New America Foundation” claims that the U.S. has been responsible for 2,903 drone strikes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region since 2004. Drone attacks have risen steadily since 2004, peaking in 2010. From 2004 -March 2012, an estimated 1,778- 2,764 deaths are attributed to U.S. Predator strikes in Pakistan, of those an estimated 1,485-2,293 were militants. The New America Foundation statistics are based on research of major world-wide media institutions, including Pakistani television reports. The numbers are not exact because after a drone attack, the militants quickly remove the dead and do not report the exact numbers in fear that it would make them look weak. The U.S. and Pakistani army do not release the numbers as well. This analysis will examine arguments for and against...