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The human cost

Should the U.S. continue using drones to kill Al Qaeda leaders even if it means civilian deaths?

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  • Sodonnell602

    What a totally inappropriate program to have on given the deaths of 4 Americans yesterday. What are you thinkin!

    Our fault again!

  • Isaiah Matos

    Things like these drone strikes and our imperial foreign policy are the root causes of 9/11 and the embassy raids going on now in the Muslim world. American flags are not being burned because of a video, that me be a catalyst, a fuse that blows the powder keg. Now we will see the beginning of our demise. Ten years ago it would have been unthinkable to attack our embassies. It is a sign of our eroding empire.

  • Bkriegler

    I believe that drone warfare is cowardly, and I cannot believe that this isn’t a violation of international law.

  • cruiseson

    In the US, if the police have chased a murderer into a house with innocent people in the house, we don’t blow up the whole house with everybody in it just to get one guy! 
    It seems hard to know what the real facts are in these incidents.

  • Travelin2Tulsa

    Although I like the results; drone attacks must have more oversight!  The CIA is not accountable enough to the People.  We (and soon the other capable nations of the world) need international oversight before these operations begin and when they should cease.  I cannot imagine that we would ever use drones over China or Russia, why not?  Retalliation would be swift and severe.  So it appears we are using them in the middle east simply because “might makes right”, not a flattering picture of the USA and something we abhor in other nations.   

  • Max

    It is an unfortunate consequence of war that unintended deaths will result.  It is fortunate that the United States has developed a technology that minimizes unintended damage.  Consider the deaths that resulted in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden.

  • pattypax

    How can we continue to not think that violence begets violence?  

  • Larry Waybright

    I support the American use of weaponized drones in Pakistan or for that matter, any place else where terrorists seek refuge.

    Several things struck me as I watched the broadcast of this story.

    1, That these are not violations of cross border missions but are based and controlled by CIA personnel at Pakistani military bases. They are publicly against the drone program. The program is impossible without the complicity of Pakistani civilian and military support. They pay lip service to public sentiment
    2.One Pakistani activist complained that it is a lack of American military aid which limits their internal anti-terrorist programs.This latter complaint is preposterous. Pakistan has diverted much of our foreign aid money towards their own nuclear weapons program. They do not need a larger nuclear arsenal.
    Make no mistake, we are at war with terrorism and as was pointed out in this program, war, no matter how sophisticated and accurately force is applied will result in the loss of some innocent live as we prosecute this war against the terrorists.

    The terrorists deliberately surround themselves with innocents as human shields.
    Pakistan bears more responsibility to deal directly with the terrorists based in their country.
    But regardless of who and how force is used against the terrorists there will always be undesired casualties among the innocent.

    Having provided Osama bin Ladin sanctuary they have no moral righteousness to criticize our use of armed drones to get at the remaining terrorists. The onus is upon Pakistan to be a better partner and step up the use of their own conventional forces at the expense of their nuclear weapons program budget if necessary. They must prove through their own actions that they deserve more of our trust and foreign aid.

  • Larry Waybright

     The Russian federation and Peoples Republic of China have not been bastions of terrorist refuge or support.
    In fact, the Russian Federation has their own problem with radical Islamic terrorists so we share this problem in common. China in the enviable position of having the luxury to be on the side lines.

  • Larry Waybright

     There is a big distinction between police actions and those of an international war against terrorism.

  • Larry Waybright

     You obviously missed the part about the complicity of the Pakistani government in allowing us to base our drones from Pakistani military bases. We are not violating their sovereignty when they permit us to use their bases for our operations.

  • Larry Waybright

    You seem to have a short memory.
    Our facilities and embassies have been repeatedly attacked since at least the take over of the our Iranian embassy and the suicide bombing of the Marines in Lebanon back when Reagan was president. I could list dozens of other attacks since then but that would probably not change your mind.

  • Larry Waybright

    Your comment doesn’t make any sense.
    The program was scheduled long before the recent events at our Middle Eastern diplomatic outposts.
    Besides, why should new terrorist attacks like that on the American Consulate in Benghazi have anything to do with a drone program in Pakistan which is nearly a decade old?

  • Larry Waybright

     Violence does beget violence but  if appeasement worked we wouldn’t have had to fight World War II.
    Real world policies can not be based on platitudes and terrorists only understand violence.

  • Dsk

    The drones may kill some avowed enemies of the USA, but they are also terrorizing many civilians and ultimately turning another nation against us. Violence breeds violence, and it often escalates. Our superpower incluence in the middle east is turning many countries against us, and for good reasons!

  • Catherinegarland

    America needs to take the high road, the difficult path.  Drones are easy and they’re safe – for us, but for the civilians living in the areas affected, drones turn life into a living hell, killing friends and family and causing a great deal of psychosis.  Just imagine living in such an area yourself and feeling completely helpless against this threat that appears from nowhere at any time of the day or night, imagine trying to protect your loved ones against this, imagine how you would feel about the country perpetrating this.

  • Mleesuitor

    We are crossing international borders as literally with drones as we would be with troops or planes at this point. An international agreement needs to be drawn up about the use of drones for destructive purposes before any entity can claim the right to use them, government or other power posessing them. Lee Suitor, Seattle, WA

  • Larry Waybright

     It may not seem like it based on my comments here but I am a very liberal Democrat.
    Its just that this is a war and our drone program reduces casualties which would be incurred among both civilian and military ground forces to accomplish the same goal.
    The Middle Eastern Islamic countries, to put it mildly, have hated the West and especially America for half a century. We are using the least worse option for dealing with terrorists embedded among the civilians.
    Pakistan could have taken the lead long ago but never did so. They spent all their money on their nuclear weapons program. So now they lack the resources and are depending upon our drone program to make up their deficiencies while still enjoying to publicly objecting to our actions.
    One thing many do not understand about the Middle East is that stabbing your “friends” in the back are one of their most popular past times.

  • Thepakiman

    In the Quran its said if you kill(take) ONE innocent life…It is like you have killed the whole Humanity…being a Muslim; I wonder who are the real terrorists and terrorizing the world with their BIG GUNS… on a interesting think on a different note: How do you feel when you see people chanting death to America and burning American flags…its not just a piece of cloth he/they are burning’ its what it represents that brings these feelings of revulsion out from within you, I am cretin you feel rage or at least get mad how dear they!!!….NOW… multiply that with 10000000 to imagine how a MUSLIM feels when he sees a distorted image of the MOST beloved MAN on this earth…imagine that!!!

  • Larry Waybright

    If you watched the same PBS show I did it was clear that only those with serious pre-existing psychosis were patients in that mental institution. Probably not what most would consider reliable witnesses.
    If we were harboring international terrorists and did nothing about it I wouldn’t object to a superior military power excising them from our population.
    A touchy/feely approach to dealing with terrorists would never work.
    Since murderers in prison hate to be confined I suppose the humane thing we should do is to release them all.

  • Larry Waybright

     It is a huge stretch to compare what we had to do during World War II to the drone war in Pakistan.
    The drones use a Hellfire missile containing only 20 pounds of conventional explosives and are very precisely targeted. So a Toyota pickup truck or a mud hut is destroyed but not entire cities with casualties between 40 and 80 thousand immediate casualties.
    Which is the most humane?.

  • Larry Waybright

     I repeat, the Pakistani government and military are permitting our drones being used over Pakistan to be based at one of the Pakistani military bases. As invited guests hosted there to use these drones over Pakistan we are not violating their sovereignty.
    Try to keep the facts straight.

  • Larry Waybright


    With all due respect, Muslims make up 1/7 of the world’s population.
    The other 6/7 do not believe The Prophet to be the most beloved holy man.

  • Norman Dillinger

    Letter to the Editor.
    I consider unmanned drone bombings much worse than  President Bush’s torture policy.
    It is illegal and immoral and actually creates many more terrorists than it kills.
    The bombings take place in many countries in the Mid East…many of which we are not at war with.  People in these countries must live in constant fear or terror as they see the drones flying around.  Are they the next target?
    Individuals can’t be identified by aerial photography.  Targets must thus be determined by paid informants.  I am sure these informants have many enemies and all they have to do is declare them terrorists and the U.S. will take them out along with any civilians in the area.
    Bombing being an act of war we have become the terrorists creating more terrorists.  Not in my name!
    Norm Dillinger 821 Orient St. Chico Ca. 530 343 1582

  • Huffdown

    Uunintended consequences/collateral damage” in war is neither.  Warriors intend all athe havoc they can inflict, paatly unconsciously.  They’re trained to a high degree of insensitivity.  The apologies of top brass are just window-dressing.  Today the Geneve Conventionn is a joke.
    Now that congress has authorized the use of drones spy on Americans perhaps there will be an outcry against their use in warfare.

  • DHi

    Didn’t anyone watch the 2nd half of the program.  Some of you hear what you want and then go your little rant.  Did you hear the guest speak about how it is mostly the militants that drones have a detrimental impact on?  Did you hear how men are taught to dress up as women and children to avoid being a target.  Hint, hint.  And how the local media is full of anti-drone propaganda?  Wouldn’t it be swell for the Taliban to get everyone all worked up about the drone program so that we will have to disband it and they can return to the comforts of electronic communication and their own personal safety.  Yes, the drone program should continue.

  • Norman Dillinger

    According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism the Obama Administration has authorized an estimated 409 drone bombings in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and who knows where else.   At least 2114 people are estimated to have been killed. 
    The Bush Administration authorized 53 bombings killing an estimated 438 people.
    Actual numbers are hard to come by as the government operates in a non-transparent manner
    Drone bombings create terrorists, are illegal and immoral.
    Perhaps a drone bombing in the U.S. by another country will convince  us this  is an act and declaration of war.
    Knowing it is a declaration of war  perhaps we will take action to stop this policy.

  • Norman Dillinger

    According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism the Obama Administration has authorized an estimated 409 drone bombings in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and who knows where else.   At least 2114 people are estimated to have been killed. 
    The Bush Administration authorized 53 bombings killing an estimated 438 people.
    Actual numbers are hard to come by as the government operates in a non-transparent manner
    Drone bombings create terrorists, are illegal and immoral.
    Perhaps a drone bombing in the U.S. by another country will convince  us this  is an act and declaration of war.
    Knowing it is a declaration of war  perhaps we will take action to stop this policy.

  • Norman Dillinger

    Choose drone bombing and expect perpetual war and an increase in of the number of terrorists in any country where it is used!

  • Clark

    Interesting discussion from all sides. I pray to Wakantanka that we never come to see war as humane. I pray that war remains the ugly, dirty abomination that it is and that we always see it for the depraved behaviour of the powerful that it always has been.

  • @KaylaWildflower

    I just think that unmanned drones are a better way of killing terrorists than ground wars. Look at Iraq. All we ever talk about is the 5,000 American lives lost. 100,000 Iraqis were killed! Sometimes we have to choose the lesser of two evils. And for American soldiers, it certainly beats going into the theater of war themselves.

  • Marc-e-qa1

    while it may seem we’re acting up with the same violence we’ve been attacked, it is necessary to maintain the offensive regardless of how innocent the casualties may be on the other hand, when this terrorists attack us and kill civilians; children, women etc, it just goes to show how coward they are to attack non military individuals, and nobody in their countries sympathizes with us’ instead they celebrate, on the same token, sorry for the innocent, casualties of war.

  • Ezock Knelsen

    has never and will never win a war that involves horses and/or camels; I challenge
    any one to wear clothing with the American flag in any Islamic country. They will
    beat to a pulp, can you blame them. There is not retribution, when 1 or 3 Americans’
    are killed we’ll hear about it but we hardly ever hear about the innocent families
    being killed and damage to their houses, how American is that, Stop the Drone attacks.

  • Jack

    Your statements after the Yes and No are misleading.  I voted Yes, but I don’t think that these attacks keep America safer and I do think that they hurt our standing in the world.  But I voted Yes anyway.  You don’t do EVERYTHING in the name of self interest.  We have to aggresively fight our enemies, and whatever the cost, so be it!!!

  • Bilcas_99

    The issue isn’t the drones but the Bush Doctrine which Obama has adopted and put on steroids: essentially it is that the US isn’t going to wait to be attacked. We’re going to hunt down those plotting against us and take them out. Also, any Govt that does not stop those folks within their borders is against us. (I’ve probably butchered this, but you get the idea).

    The drones are the best way to enforce this doctrine with minimal risk to US forces.

    The poll question should be about whether the US should hunt these enemies down before they strike or wait for their attacks.

  • SamK

    Although drone attacks may kill few militants but in my opinion it builds more anger among the locals against US which in turn result in more fundamentalist and more Jihadist coming out of these areas and joining different terrorist groups.  

  • Rabid Taco

    We are so worried about the civilians while protecting ourselves, yet they kill innocent people, burn embasys to the ground, and destroy families of ours over s film. 

  • Thf

    The coward militants live among the civilians for the very purpose of putting them at risk.  If we play “clean,” we’re going to get beat.  We have to play dirtier than our opponents or we’ll end up taking the attacks.  It’s just an unfortunate reality.  They started this war and we should end it for them.  Sorry, but war sucks…

  • Burt Zerker

    Bkriegler: Know what’s even more cowardly? When these combatants hide behind women and children after attacking,..they know full well that they won’t be engaged. They will hide behind women and children,..many times even their own children are used as a shield,..pretty brave eh?

  • GDM

    You have to break some eggs to make an omelet