Top Pro & Con Arguments


Drone strikes mostly kill low-value targets and create more terrorists.

Reuters reported that of the 500 “militants” the CIA believed it had killed with drones between 2008 and 2010, only 14 were “top-tier militant targets,” and 25 were “mid-to-high-level organizers” of al Qaeda, the Taliban, or other hostile groups. [59] The CIA had killed around 12 times more low-level fighters than mid-to-high-level during that same period. [59] According to the New America Foundation, from 2004 to 2012 an estimated 49 “militant leaders” were killed in drone strikes, constituting “2% of all drone-related fatalities.” [60]

Abdulghani Al-Iryani, senior researcher at the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, noted many militants operating in Yemen are “people who are aggrieved by attacks on their homes that forced them to go out and fight.” [49] While Abdulrasheed Al-Faqih, Executive Director of Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, explained, “Incidents of civilian harm in Yemen continue to negatively affect the reputation of the United States in the country and push local communities to consider violence and revenge as the only solution to the harm they suffer.” [146]

The number of Al Qaeda core members in the Arabian Peninsula grew from no more than 300 in 2009 when drone strikes resumed to at least 700 in 2012, resulting in an increase in terrorist attacks in the region. [50] Both the “Underwear Bomber,” who tried to blow up an American airliner in 2009, and the “Times Square Bomber,” who tried to set off a car bomb in New York City in 2010, cited drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia as motivators for the plots. [51] [52] David Rohde, who was held captive by the Taliban for eight months, stated, “the Taliban were able to garner recruits in their aftermath by exaggerating the number of civilian casualties.” [147]

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