“…perfect security at home without burdensome military engagements abroad” are the reasons our leaders are drawn to drone warfare, according to Audrey Kurth Cronin, a professor of Public Policy at George Mason University. (“Why Drones Fail, by Audrey Kurth Cronin, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2013 pg 54.) In her essay for Foreign Affairs, she looks at the pros and cons of this claim.
On the plus side, using drones eliminates our enemies before they become a danger to us — without the need to put boots on the ground as we felt forced to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have been an effective tool against al Qaeda, according to military officials.
In the minus column, Cronin argues drones antagonize locals and create enemies where we might make friends. (Ibid pg. 51) Osama bin Laden’s death , she reminds us, was achieved largely though human intelligence. In addition, drones are expensive to build and maintain, and training drone pilots in an era of austerity is a drag on other military programs. The Air Force trained 350 drone pilots in 2011 compared to 250 conventional fighters in that same year. (Ibid pg. 53) So do drones really make us safer?
The author doesn’t advocate giving up drone use. She wants us and policy makers to recognize their effectiveness is limited. She may have a point. Given that the most recent attacks on American soil have been by Americans, like the Boston Marathon bombers, we may be putting our paranoia in the wrong place.
(Courtesy of leftwingnutjob.net)