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Are drone attacks justified to target terrorists? Watch

  • View Poll Results: Are drone strikes justified to target terrorists?
    Yes
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    57.58%
    No
    14
    42.42%

    • Thread Starter
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    I understand the reservations people have about this policy but I've never really heard anybody give an alternative to trying to find terrorists hiding in places like yemen and the pakistani tribal areas. In these areas there is no strong central government which has a strong police force which can apprehend these people. Not only that the drone strikes have decimated much of al-qaeda's leadership and were why osama bin laden had to leave the tribal areas and settle in Abbottabad.

    Well that's my case. Anyone want to make theirs?
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    US drone strikes kill 49 civilians to every 1 "terrorist". Should the terrorists be permitted similar ratios?
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    There's no reason why drone strikes should be considered separately from any other targeted strike. The question is not whether drone strikes are justified, but rather targeted strikes in general. Then you have to specify whether you are talking about the principle of the targeted strike, or the specific practice of targeted strikes as carried out currently by the American government, with the level of precision and manner of target selection of that particular manifestation. You also need to determine whether we are stipulating that the cause in which the strikes are carried out is just, or whether that is up for debate as well.
    • Political Ambassador
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    I can see how the US see's them as justified but the way they go about them is clearly wrong
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    One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Killing people living in their own land innocently is a crime against humanity which shall be paid for in the day of judgement.
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    (Original post by ThinkB4Uwrite)
    One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Killing people living in their own land innocently is a crime against humanity which shall be paid for in the day of judgement.
    LOL!
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    The main concern that people have with drone strikes is the civilian casualties that accompany them, although unfortunate they are unavoidable no matter what method we use as extremists purposely hide among civilians in order to take them down with them and discourage attacks on themselves, if we stop attacking because they use civilians as shields then that will only encourage them to do it more and we will never be able to eliminate dangerous individuals. The drones currently used by the west are the most capable tools we have in regards to performing surgical strikes in populated areas. I honestly think a lot of the anti-drone lobby are just misguided, by all means object against wars, peacekeeping missions or whatever however war is violent, drones are currently in the public eye a lot due to their frequent usage, don't blame drones for the violence that is due to the sheer nature of war and if drones were ever banned we would go back to less effective methods that would probably result in a lot more innocent people being killed.
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    The figures are even more fudged when the US administration gives itself the right to name any male over the age of 16 as a 'militant'.

    Also, I have yet to see any evidence of the terrorist super organisations with sleeper cells in every city ready to be activated at any moment. It is fairly obvious that 'Al Quaeda' was manufactured in order to allow the US criminal justice system to incriminate Bin Laden after the 1998 Embassy bombings (since at the time there had to be an organisation in existence to be trialled for being the head of a crime organisation). Forgive if I sound as if I'm edging towards wearing a tinfoil hat, but Al Quaeda seems to be a very convenient term for the media and state to use and is almost a buzzword to trigger strong emotions throughout their audience.

    So the questions you should be asking yourself are: Is the current Middle East situation on the whole justifiable; and who the hell are these terrorists that pose such a threat to our shores anyway?

    edit: Okay, it's been an hour since someone negatively rated this post. It should have been time enough for you to formulate a response in disagreement. AT the very least contribute to what should become an interesting thread.
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    (Original post by Keckers)
    The figures are even more fudged when the US administration gives itself the right to name any male over the age of 16 as a 'militant'.

    Also, I have yet to see any evidence of the terrorist super organisations with sleeper cells in every city ready to be activated at any moment. It is fairly obvious that 'Al Quaeda' was manufactured in order to allow the US criminal justice system to incriminate Bin Laden after the 1998 Embassy bombings (since at the time there had to be an organisation in existence to be trialled for being the head of a crime organisation). Forgive if I sound as if I'm edging towards wearing a tinfoil hat, but Al Quaeda seems to be a very convenient term for the media and state to use and is almost a buzzword to trigger strong emotions throughout their audience.

    So the questions you should be asking yourself are: Is the current Middle East situation on the whole justifiable; and who the hell are these terrorists that pose such a threat to our shores anyway?
    well put.
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    i am happy for Terry Terrorist to know that he could be about to be made into wormfood without warning.
    • Thread Starter
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    I think one thing people haven't addressed is what is the alternative? There is no strong central government in places like Yemen or the pakistani tribal areas. There is no way you're going to get the police there to go an arrest terrorists. The terrorists are often better equiped and trained than the police. So essentially the policy ends up being lets let them stay there and produce videos and plan attacks while we sit here and comfort ourselves with how we're morally great for sticking to our values. While in the meantime they're planning attacks and wondering how to kill people.

    I understand the outrage about civilian casualties and certainly think we should avoid them. But it's worth noting that the drone strikes elimanted much of bin-ladens top leadership, forced him to move out of the tribal areas where he was operating and eventually made it easier for the west to track him.

    I'm not dogmatic about this policy. If anybody can come up with an alternative I would love to see it.
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    (Original post by AdvanceAndVanquish)
    There's no reason why drone strikes should be considered separately from any other targeted strike. The question is not whether drone strikes are justified, but rather targeted strikes in general. Then you have to specify whether you are talking about the principle of the targeted strike, or the specific practice of targeted strikes as carried out currently by the American government, with the level of precision and manner of target selection of that particular manifestation. You also need to determine whether we are stipulating that the cause in which the strikes are carried out is just, or whether that is up for debate as well.
    I agree with this. What relevance is it that they are using unmanned drones? Why would it be better if they sent out manned aircraft to do it instead?
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    NATO figures show that there was a 9% reduction in violence throughout the country and in areas where the fighting increased, NATO had gone on the offensive. Civilian deaths in the last 4 months have dropped 21%. There was a 2011 UN report which suggested a significant rise but their figures included arrests and searches too. Even when we look to the independent figures for the civilians killed, the number is remarkably low (keeping in mind that when operating in Pakistan, the population is quite dense). At the low end, the Long War Journal has 138 civilians being killed from 2006-2012. According to Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann who use "reliable press accounts", 80% of the dead were militants, and in 2010 that figure rose to 95%. Complaining about the use of unmanned drones is almost a way of saying that you want less sophisticated weaponry - weaponry that ends up killing more innocent people.

    Jaeger and Siddique (2011) find "strong negative impacts of unsuccessful drone strikes on Taliban violence in Pakistan, showing the deterrent effects are quite strong." Johnston and Sarbahi (2012) in their analysis find that "drone strikes are associated with decreases in both the frequency and the lethality of militant attacks overall and in IED and suicide attacks specifically."

    And this does not seem to be the end of the matter – Christopher Swift disagrees in an article published in Foreign Affairs. Swift interviewed "40 interviews with tribal leaders, Islamist politicians, Salafist clerics, and other sources." His conclusions are vastly different from the NYT's: "As a group, they were older, more conservative, and more skeptical of U.S. motives. They were less urban, less wealthy, and substantially less secular. But to my astonishment, none of the individuals I interviewed drew a causal relationship between U.S. drone strikes and al Qaeda recruiting. Indeed, of the 40 men in this cohort, only five believed that U.S. drone strikes were helping al Qaeda more than they were hurting it." Tariq Azam (Taliban official) has publicly told the press that meetings in Pakistan have been driven underground. The same report notes that the terrorists now suspect each other of being spies. Pakistani General Mehmood Ghayur "acknowledged the effectiveness of the American drone strikes against foreign militants".

    Obviously there are problems with the strikes. No one can be held accountable by the families of innocent victims and so on. But the casualty figures are lower than you think. I'm rather inclined to believe that killing terrorists, not engaging in Chamberlain-esque 'dialogue', reduces their number. There are ways to win the wars on terror and if talking is going to be one of them, the people doing the talking are going to be Western democracies, our allies in the non-Western world (India, Japan, etc.), and the United Nations, so that we can reform international law and laws of combat to allow countries to fight the new threat.
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    (Original post by Psyk)
    I agree with this. What relevance is it that they are using unmanned drones? Why would it be better if they sent out manned aircraft to do it instead?
    Very true. Drones still have a human operator like warplanes, it's just that they're sitting in a control room looking at a screen rather than sitting in a cockpit looking out of the window.
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    Drone strikes should be conducted in the U.S, real Americans are going to be like the taliban, under assault from the Washington beast
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    If drone strikes are are more efficient at taking out terrorists (and cause less civilian casualties) than other military tactics, then if you agree with the principle that a government should be allowed to kill terrorists, there is no issue.

    The major concern in the US is that executive power has gone out of control, with the President being able to assassinate US citizens at his call (one of the Al-Qaeda terrorists killed in Yemen was a US citizen, yet he was still killed without a fair trial).
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    Yes they are justified, Terrorists invalidate their own rights when they commit acts of terror and so should be dealt with at all costs.
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    Drone attacks are the best anywhere, including here in the U.S.. real Americans are going to become like the Taliban, under assault from the Washington beast.
 
 
 
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