News / USA

US Drone Strikes Under Scrutiny

US Drone Strikes Under Scrutinyi
X
April 09, 2013 9:13 PM
The use of unmanned drones by the United States to strike terror targets is coming under increasing scrutiny, both in America and abroad. Those in favor say drones have been highly effective in targeting terrorists, but critics suggest they could violate international law. From London, Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
US Drone Strikes Under Scrutiny
Henry Ridgwell
The United States' use of unmanned drones to strike terrorists is coming under increasing scrutiny. Those in favor say the drone strikes have been highly effective, but critics suggest they could violate international law. The New York Times claimed Sunday it had uncovered a secret deal between the U.S. and Pakistan over the use of drones in Pakistani airspace.

Unmanned drones are being used with increasing frequency in fighting terrorist groups like al-Qaida.

A recent analysis by the New America Foundation estimated drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen since 2004 have killed up to 3,238 militants and as many as 368 civilians.

Professor Christopher Coker of the London School of Economics is author of Warrior Geeks: How 21st Century Technology Is Changing The Way We Fight And Think About War.

“There are six American bases - four in the United States, one in Germany and one in South Korea - and that’s where most of the drone strikes are launched from. And they have chaplains and psychologists now in the room monitoring; they have machines monitoring stress levels, also monitoring concentration levels," said Coker. "And there is, of course, a chain of command. So you [the pilots] spend about eight hours looking at the screen day after day and occasionally you get the command to actually fire.”

The New York Times newspaper alleged Sunday that Pakistan is allowing U.S. drones in its airspace in return for targeted killings of Pakistan’s enemies by the drones. The Pakistani government strongly denied the allegations; the U.S. government did not comment.

The drone strikes have prompted street protests in Pakistan. Arif Niazi is a lawyer in Islamabad.

"These ongoing attacks are blatant aggression, an intrusion into my country and a violation of its sovereignty," said Niazi.

Marco Roscini, an expert on international law at the University of Westminster, says the legality of current drone strikes is murky.

“There is a huge need for clarification and there’s a huge need for transparency," said Roscini. "You know that most of the strikes are now allegedly carried out by the CIA and their covert operations. So we don’t know why, who or when an individual is put on the targeted list.”

The decision on whom to target is a key distinction between CIA drone strikes and the military, says Professor Christopher Coker of the London School of Economics.

“The military can only actually take out someone if they know 100 percent that it’s a bad guy," he said. "The CIA will take you out on the basis that your behavior leads them to suspect that you may be a bad guy.”

Supporters of drone strikes point to the killing of numerous high-profile targets - such as last year's strike in Pakistan that killed the then number two in al-Qaida, Abu Yahya al-Libi.

At his nomination hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee in February, CIA Director John Brennan was questioned about the use of drones to kill U.S. citizens suspected of joining terror groups.

“I think any Americans who did that, should know well, that they are in fact part of an enemy against us, and the United States will do everything possible to destroy that enemy to save American lives," said Brennan.

With most NATO ground forces withdrawing from Afghanistan at the end of 2014, analysts says drones could play a bigger role in the West’s fight against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anthony alaban from: nsw australia
April 09, 2013 8:37 PM
2004 have killed up to 3,238 militants and as many as 368 civilians.
i think these figures are actually the wrong way around with civillian deaths a lot more then the militants.Its only america saying those killed were militants ,how would they know who their killing many times they have been proved wrong once the sun rises and then they say the militants were using the civillians as shields,yeah sure they were,remember the journ,s killed due to they looked like they were carrying weapons not cameras.
When will the coalition off the willing become accountable for all the atrocities in the middle east .Obama is like the Bush clan but using drones instead to save american soldiers lives but no other lives,he will go down in history as a killing president that loves war and lies .Look out n korea your next.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs