A recent Associated Press (AP) poll, largely inspired by the January deaths of two men in a drone attack, in which slightly over 1000 people were surveyed, discovered 60 percent of Americans favor drone strikes against terrorists, 13 percent oppose and 24 percent were unsure.
The deaths of one Italian and one American, both in al-Qaida captivity, spurred anger, criticism and questions about the utility of drones; however, the AP poll revealed roughly 75 percent remained supportive of drone attacks even when an American in the service of a terror organization was a victim. Although the AP poll did not specifically cite reaction to civilian deaths, among those polled, 47 percent support drone strikes when an innocent American’s death occurs.
Along party lines, those identifying themselves as Republicans disclosed 72 percent favor drones and 10 percent were opposed; similarly among Democrats, 60 percent favor drones while 16 percent were opposed. Among those polled, close to 50 percent supported the use of drones even when innocent Americans were at risk; by contrast, 43 percent were opposed.
There exist perils when engaging sinister forces in the War on Terror.
While civilian deaths arouse both suspicion and fury, Americans are sensible enough to recognize and accept the probability of collateral damage and they endure civilian casualties with regret whether the casualties are American or indigenous non-combatants. The drone is one of the most innovative and valuable weapon platforms devised in recent memory. Critics who charge the drone is a reckless weapon are manipulating the unfortunate incident of the deaths of two men carelessly. Expressing such reservations is reckless: To demand a re-examination or suspension of the program or compelling its abandonment would remove an effective weapon from the American arsenal and eliminate our undisputed mastery in technology.
A drone is not designed to be a treasury of compassion but a tool to deliver death and destruction upon our sworn enemies without remorse, sympathy or compassion. Drone attacks have successfully minimized untold civilian casualties, reduced American combat losses, caused a catastrophic effect on the morale of our sworn enemies, and, most important, inflicted significant injury upon the leadership of the Taliban and al-Qaida networks.
The Obama White House withstood a fair amount of unjust criticism for the January deaths of two civilians in terrorist captivity. While the Obama administration is worthy of criticism for its irresolute conduct of the war, Mr. Obama has, laudably, remained unhesitating in proceeding with drone strikes, much to the displeasure of our adversaries.