CIA Drone Strikes: Why the CIA Wants More Drones, and Why It Should Have None

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the CIA, in its never ending quest to continue the proud U.S. tradition of aggressive and fiscally irresponsible foreign policy, has requested that its drone fleet be increased by one-third.

CIA Director David Petraeus said the increase is needed to sustain the current level of attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, and to enable the CIA to target regions in North Africa, if necessary.

The request, if approved, will undoubtedly further erode our already unstable foreign policy in the Middle East and undermine our national security.

I have heard, countless times government officials make claims to the contrary. They insist that the drone program is fiscally responsible, humane, and an overall sensible approach to dealing with enemies abroad.

These claims are false.

The drone program is actually incredibly expensive, costing us nearly $40 billion in defense spending.

The program is also far from precise or humane, as proven by numerous studies on the subject.

According to the Pakistan Interior Minister, 80% of those killed by U.S. drones are civilians. Researchers at Stanford and New York University arrived at an even worse conclusion in their “Living under Drones” study, when they found that only 2% of drone strikes actually kill targeted militants.

The inescapable conclusion is that the drone strikes are inhumane, damaging to diplomacy and are in gross violation of international law. All of these transgressions set dangerous precedents, and ultimately do nothing to secure safety for anyone.

Quite the opposite, in fact; the Stanford study found that our drone campaigns actually trigger terrorist activity and anti-American sentiment. What else should we expect when the vast majority of drone strike casualties are innocent civilians?

There is clearly a need to re-examine this policy and ultimately scale back our careless use of drone technology. Until then we must pierce through the disingenuous government narrative on this issue at the very least, thereby exposing the disinformation inherent in this issue.

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Linnie Leavines

Journalist, aspiring politico, and Arlington resident. Follow me @linnieleavines

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