US Drone Strikes

Decent Essays
Historian John Olsen notes that “military commanders have come to look to air power as a quick and cheap solution to otherwise complex international problems.” Airpower has provided the US with a flexible, relatively low-cost, low-commitment tool that makes dabbling outside of international norms and rules less costly and therefore more attractive. Unfortunately, there is a potentially unseen cost, US prestige.
The Kosovo War serves as an excellent example to highlight the disparity between US and European thinking on the employment of force. The enormous success of Airpower in the Gulf War had engrained within the minds of US generals the notion that rapid and massive force from the onset was the best course of action. These generals
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The US increasingly relies on drones for its counterterrorism efforts, and the world has been watching the manner in which the US employs this new instrument of Airpower. The use of drones has raised concerns over state sovereignty, human rights, and extrajudicial or extraterritorial killings. While US drone strikes are undoubtedly projecting US power and eliminated terrorists, the question has arisen as to whether or not these killings are doing more harm than good. This question is rooted in the concept of US prestige. Whether or not these strikes are “worth it” saves for another debate, but for purposes of this discussion, these drone strikes have contributed to a loss of US prestige in the international community. Pakistan and Yemen, although secretly authorizing US drone operations, publically condemn the US for violating their sovereignty. A survey in 2012 found that 74% of the Pakistani population views the US as their enemy. The execution of US Citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by a drone strike in Yemen received considerable criticism from the US population. Despite the fact that Awlaki had been radicalized and had recruited western individuals for terrorist acts, there was debate as to whether or not he should have been granted a fair trial. A study conducted by The International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School found that “The significant global opposition to drone strikes also erodes US credibility in the international community. In 17 of the 20 countries polled by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, the majority of those surveyed disapproved of US drone attacks in countries like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.” As with Kosovo, the astounding potential of Airpower for achieving effects is attractive, but the long-term consequences of its misuse should not be
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