Argument Paper For Drone Warfare

1411 words - 6 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

This analysis will examine arguments for and against the use of drones in warfare, taking into consideration the influence of international law and human rights. The arguments for Drone Warfare many support the use of drones, claiming it puts less American soldiers in harm’s way and kills fewer civilians than the alternative. Most argue that drones are effective militarily. Drones can strike in impassable terrain, fly over enemy territory and need to refuel less than manned jets. Training drone controllers is faster and significantly cheaper than training pilots. Future drones may be more effective than traditional fighter jets as they will be able to avoid radar detection and gain hyper- maneuverability. Drones are considered by some to be an effective anti-terrorism mechanism. They are feared by terrorists more than elite troops because they are nearly invisible and almost completely silent. They have weakened militant groups, such as the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan who have stopped using electronic devices and who no longer gather in large numbers. Some militant leaders even spend their nights outside for safety reasons. The result is battle fatigue and decreased ability to mobilize.
The Obama administration justifies the drone attacks under international law and the U.S. constitution. US Attorney General Eric Holder notes that the U.S. constitution guarantees due process, but not judicial process. Holder claims that the following conditions must be met by a target to be killed by a drone: the target must be “senior operational leader of al-Qaida or associated forces” otherwise known as an “enemy combatant.” The target must be planning at attack against the U.S. and be located in a country that has given the U.S. authority to strike. The target must not be able to be captured at the time the decision is made. Thus, the use of drones falls under the category of “imminent threat.” These preconditions align with the Geneva Convention-based Law of Armed Conflict that requires verification of military targets, precautionary measures to minimize civilian harm and the avoidance of disproportionate collateral damage. Some members of the Pakistani military support the drones, at least privately, because they have benefitted from some of the attacks. For example a 2009 drone attack killed Baitullah Mehsud, leader of a militant alliance who was suspected to behind the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Drones have forced some Taliban officials to leave their homes, a feature that was impossible for the Pakistani military to achieve using traditional methods that often led to the loss of military personnel and unwanted engagement with local villagers. People living in the areas are conflicted. Many favor drone strikes compared to other military operations or less selective bombardments. Thus, compared to the alternative, drones can be considered the lesser evil.
The argument against Drone Warfare, many are...

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