New America Foundation, an American based think tank, has claimed that nearly 33% of those killed by drones in Pakistan have been civilians. This report corroborates claims made by Pakistani authorities earlier this year.
The largely secretive Drone program in Pakistan, headed by the CIA, has drawn heated criticism from human rights groups, antiwar organizations, and even some top military officials. In addition, according to a recent poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan, only 9% of Pakistanis supported the strikes. Despite this opposition, President Obama has continued to order a record number of Drone strikes, far surpassing the total during the entire Bush administration.
Proponents argue that unmanned Predator Drone strikes are more economical and lower the probability of US troop casualties. They also question the accuracy of civilian death tolls, and often blame ruthless militants for blending in with the civilian population, leading to the unfortunate incidence of collateral damage.
Opponents argue that Drone attacks are unlawful, extrajudicial killings, since the United States has not declared war or granted Letters of Marque & Reprisal, as stipulated in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution. Some top military officials, such as David Kilcullen, one of the architects of the 2007-2008 Iraq surge, as well as Philip Giraldi, a 19 year counter-terrorism veteran of the CIA, claim that the high incidence of civilian casualties is actually creating more terrorists. Top trends forecaster, Gerald Celente, has even issued warnings of another terrorist attack against the US due to escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
So, what do you think?
Do you believe these attacks are lawful or unlawful?
Should we be more concerned with civilian casualties, or are they an unfortunate fact of life in the War on Terror?
Do you believe Drone attacks are making us more or less safe back home?