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How do you feel about drones? Should they or shouldn’t they be used? Should there be rules about exactly how they can be used? Please explain.
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned aerial systems which have become controversial weapons of war - a controversy that extends beyond military uses of drones to target suspected terrorists. On NPR last week, New York Times reporter Scott Shane explained that the administration’s drone program is kept under the radar because to make it public could threaten national security.
Shane describes what really interests him "is how are we using a new military technology in countries where we're not at war to kill suspected terrorists? …What are the long-term consequences? Is this the way we'll be dealing with multiple problems perhaps even beyond terrorism in the future? ….”
The concern is that these weapons are changing the way America thinks about war. America has set a precedent by sending drones over sovereign borders to kill enemies, in some cases killing innocent people including American citizens in the cause of defending the US against enemies, especially Al Qaeda and all terrorists. The issue here is that the US is not at war with these countries, but sees the killing of American citizens on foreign territory as part of a counterterrorism offensive.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, about 2,500 people have been killed in drone strikes by the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. military since President Obama took office. And the program is expanding. 10 years ago, the Pentagon had about 50 drones; now there are 7,000 drones which range in size from large, Predator drones (costing $5 million or so) carrying laser-guided bombs, to tiny Hummingbirds, devices the size of insects and birds.