Top Pro & Con Arguments


Drone strikes violate the sovereignty of other countries and are extremely unpopular in the affected countries.

Strikes are often carried out without the permission and against the objection of the target countries. Iraq Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halboosi called the Jan. 2020 strike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani “a flagrant violation of sovereignty, and a violation of international conventions… “Any security and military operation on Iraqi territory must have the approval of the government.” [155]

Pakistan’s foreign ministry called drone strikes “illegal” and said they violated the country’s sovereignty. [70] On Oct. 22, 2013, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the “use of drones is not only a continued violation of our territorial integrity but also detrimental to our resolve at efforts in eliminating terrorism from our country… I would therefore stress the need for an end to drone attacks.” [71]

The United Nations’ Human Rights Chief, Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, and Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions have all called US drone strikes a violation of sovereignty, and have pressed for investigations into the legality of the attacks. [72] [73] [74] In a July 18, 2013, 39-country survey by Pew Research, only six countries approved of US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. [2]

General Stanley McChrystal, former leader of the US military in Afghanistan, says that the “resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes… is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.” [79]

76% of residents in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northwestern Pakistan (where 96% of drone strikes in the country are carried out) oppose American drone strikes. [80] 48% think the strikes largely kill civilians. [81] Only 17% of Pakistanis back American drone strikes against leaders of extremist groups, even if they are conducted in conjunction with the Pakistani government. [82]

On Dec. 16, 2013, Yemen’s parliament passed a motion calling for the United States to end its drone program in the country after a wedding convoy of 11 to 15 people were killed by a US drone strike. [85]

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