Last updated on: 4/3/2014 | Author:

Avery Plaw, PhD Biography

Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
Pro to the question "Should the United States Continue Its Use of Drone Strikes Abroad?"

“[M]y best judgment is that from the U.S. perspective, drone strikes have done more good than harm and should be continued…

One point in favor of drone strikes is that they are weakening Al Qaeda, the Taliban and affiliated groups, and hence protecting lives, American and other. Also, there don’t seem to be better means of doing so…

First, states have a primary responsibility for the protection of their own citizens. If drone strikes are the best way to remove an all-too-real threat to American lives, then that is an especially weighty consideration.

Second, I doubt that ending drone strikes would substantially reduce anti-Americanism in the Islamic world or put a dent in radical recruitment…

Finally, there is evidence that drone strikes are less harmful to civilians than other means of reaching Al Qaeda and affiliates in remote, lawless regions (for example, large-scale military operations). And that is what is required of states in armed conflict, legally and ethically: where civilian casualties cannot be avoided, they must be minimized.”

“Drones Save Lives, American and Other,”, Nov. 14, 2012

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Member, Steering Committee, War, Virtual War, and Human Security Project, 2008-present
  • Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, 2006-present
  • Member, Association for Political Theory Conference Program Committee, 2009
  • Member, Awards Committee of the American Political Science Association Division on Politics, Literature, and Film, 2009
  • Visiting Scholar, Department of Sociology, New York University, 2005-2006
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2005-2006
  • Assistant Professor of Political Science, Concordia University, 2002-2005
  • Education:
  • PhD, Political Science, McGill University, 2001
  • MA, Political Science, University of Toronto, 1994
  • BA, Political Science and English Literature, University of Toronto, 1991
  • Other:
  • Recipient, Chancellor’s Colloquium Prize at University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, 2009-2010
  • Recipient, Canadian Political Science Association IR Award for Best Book of the Year in International Relations, 2009
  • Recipient, Wilson Carey McWilliams Award for the Best Paper at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in the Division of Politics, Literature and Film, 2008