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The U.S. Drone Program is Fatally Flawed

From the Panel

  • Against: DENNIS BLAIR

  • Blair: Drone Strikes Reduce Chance of Mistakes
    NBC Nightly News, June 5, 2013Retired Adm. Dennis Blair, former director of National Intelligence, says that drone strikes can more effectively identify and target combatants than other types of airstrikes.
  • U.S. Drone Strike Policies
    Dennis Blair, Micah Zenko and Jonathan Masters, Council on Foreign Relations, January 22, 2013A CFR media conference call on U.S. drone policy.
  • Ex-Obama Adviser on Plan to Limit Drones: Why Did We Wait?
    Rachel Martin interviews Dennis Blair, Weekend Edition, May 26, 2013The drone program ought to be conducted by the Department of Defense, under the normal rules of war, laws of armed conflict which the United States and other advanced countries have worked out over the years.
  • Backlash from Drone Attacks in Pakistan
    Lesley Stahl interviews Dennis Blair, Aspen Security Forum, February 1, 2012Pull back on unilateral actions by the U.S. except in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Drones Alone Are Not the Answer
    Dennis Blair, New York Times, August 14, 2011Washington should support a new security campaign that includes jointly controlled drone strikes and combines the capabilities of Pakistan and America.


  • Air Force Chief Leaves Legacy in the Sky: Drones
    Tom Bowman, Morning Edition, August 10, 2012Remotely piloted aircraft will be the future of the Air Force.
  • Schwartz: AF Needs Manned Aircraft Despite UAVs
    Jeff Schogol, Air Force Times, July 24, 2012‘Ultimately, it is conceivable that the majority of aviators in our Air Force will be Remotely Piloted Aircraft operators.’
  • Air Force Chief Talks of Shrinking Budgets, Post-Iraq Exhaustion
    Charles Clark, National Journal, May 2, 2012‘Is it more ethical to engage an asset from an F-15 or an F-16 or an [unmanned] M Q9? We have rules of engagement, so if it is a legitimate target, the manner in which we engage that target in close combat is irrelevant.’
  • The Air Force in the Twenty First Century
    Harry Kreisler interviews Norton Schwartz, Conversations with History, March 12, 2013 Schwartz reflects on his career and analyzes the essential elements of military leadership. He also explores the challenges of securing and maintaining the nuclear arsenal and the implications of developing and deploying pilotless aircraft.


  • FOR

  • Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies
    Micah Zenko, Council on Foreign Relations, January 2013This report analyzes the potentially serious consequences, both at home and abroad, of a lightly overseen drone program and makes recommendations for improving its governance.
  • The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing
    Rosa Brooks, Testimony Before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, April 23, 2013The manner in which the United States has been using drone strikes raises questions about their strategic efficacy and unintended consequences.
  • Are Drone Strikes Killing Terrorists or Creating Them?
    Hassan Abbas, The Atlantic, March 31, 2013The truth is we don't know whether U.S. drone strikes have killed more terrorists or produced more terrorists. Regardless, killing terrorists is only a stopgap arrangement..
  • The World as Free-Fire zone
    Fred Kaplan, MIT Technology Review, June 7, 2013How drones made it easy for Americans to kill a particular person anywhere on the planet.
  • Obama Won’t End the Drone War, But Pakistan Might
    Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, Al Jazeera, July 3, 2013Drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries is not in the U.S. national interest and mires the country in endless war.

  • Drones Best Weapons We’ve Got for Accuracy, Control, Oversight; Critics Don’t Get It
    David Deptula, Breaking Defense, February 15, 2013The critics don’t understand the reality of “drone” operations, nor do they comprehend that our adversaries are most certainly conducting an aggressive perception management campaign on this issue – a very effective one if the recent hysteria over RPA use is a measure of effectiveness.
  • Why Drones Work: The Case for Washington’s Weapon of Choice
    Daniel Byman, Brookings, July/August 2013Drone strikes remain a necessary instrument of counterterrorism.
  • Prepared Statement of Martha McSally
    Martha McSally, colonel (retired), USAF, Testimony Before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, April 23, 2013For targeted strikes of fleeting targets in low air defense threat environments, an RPA is the best platform to choose to ensure precision, persistence, flexibility, and minimize civilian casualties.
  • Drone Policy Can Be a Moral Policy
    Mark Tooley, The Washington Post, August 15, 2013Any government that shuns the available tools in defense of its people and in pursuit of justice has failed its vocation.
  • The Case for Drone Strikes
    Michael Lewis, LA Times, February 5, 2013They remain the best option for denying Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters havens in Pakistan.
  • The Moral Case for Drones
    Scott Shane, New York Times, July 14, 2012Some moral philosophers, political scientists and weapons specialists believe armed, unmanned aircraft offer marked moral advantages over almost any other tool of warfare.