Report Warns of ‘Slippery Slope’ in Using Drones for Counterterrorism

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Global Security Newswire Staff
June 27, 2014, 9:11 a.m.

A pan­el of former seni­or U.S. of­fi­cials is cau­tion­ing against re­ly­ing too much on drones for tar­get­ing per­ceived ter­ror­ist threats, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports.

In a re­port pub­lished Thursday by the Stim­son Cen­ter, a group of ex-de­fense and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials faul­ted the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion for not car­ry­ing out a “stra­tegic ana­lys­is” of the pros and cons of us­ing un­manned aer­i­al vehicles to strike sus­pec­ted ter­ror­ists in na­tions such as Pakistan and Ye­men.

“A ser­i­ous coun­terter­ror­ism strategy needs to con­sider care­fully, and con­stantly re­as­sess the bal­ance between kin­et­ic ac­tion and oth­er coun­terter­ror­ism tools, and the po­ten­tial un­in­ten­ded con­sequences of in­creased re­li­ance on leth­al UAVs,” the 81-page re­port states.

White House Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil spokes­wo­man Caitlin Hay­den would not re­spond to the spe­cif­ic is­sues raised in the re­port but said the U.S. gov­ern­ment ad­heres to do­mest­ic and in­ter­na­tion­al law.

The re­port warned that drone strikes were more dam­aging to the U.S. repu­ta­tion abroad than the Amer­ic­an pub­lic real­ized.

“The re­sent­ment cre­ated by Amer­ic­an use of un­manned strikes … is much great­er than the av­er­age Amer­ic­an ap­pre­ci­ates. They are hated on a vis­cer­al level, even by people who’ve nev­er seen one or seen the ef­fects of one,” re­tired Gen. Stan­ley Mc­Chrys­tal, who formerly headed up U.S. mil­it­ary op­er­a­tions in Afgh­anistan, was quoted as say­ing in the re­port.

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