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Amid Criticism, U.S. Increases Use of Drones as Weapons of War

October 10, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
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JEFFREY BROWN: Next tonight, remote-control bombing attacks as a weapon of war.

The recent killing in Yemen of the U.S.-born al-Qaida militant Anwar al-Awlaki, with several others, was just the latest example of a high-profile missile attack by CIA drones. In fact, the U.S. has dramatically increased its use of remotely controlled UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles, to go after targets in hard-to-reach areas, including in Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and especially Pakistan, where U.S. Reaper and Predator drones have reportedly killed more than 2,000 Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

But they have also stirred protests, including last June in Karachi, where Pakistanis complained too many innocents are killed by errant strikes. And just yesterday in Nevada, protesters outside Creech Air Force Base also condemned the deaths of innocent civilians.

There are also questions about what happens as the technology spreads. Britain and Israel have already used drones. Other nations are in the process of developing their own models.