On August 6, 1945, the United States military used a massive, atomic weapon against Hiroshima, Japan. This atomic bomb, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of dynamite, flattened the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians. While Japan was still trying to get a grasp of this devastation, three days later, the United States struck again, this time, on Nagasaki. Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the immediate effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki. If you are an American you may see this event as a positive action for our society, and if you are Japanese you may see this as the most horrendous occurrence in the history of the human race.
Regardless of your viewpoint on the situation, it is important to understand its proportionality. What I mean by proportionality is the proportion of good aspects to bad aspects that the action had. Did the good outweigh the bad? In the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bad definitely outweighed the good, where although we may have saved many Americans lives, hundreds of thousands civilians died, and an entire country was devastated. So when developing an opinion on the use of drone strikes, I want you to keep in mind proportionality, and ask yourself, does the good outweigh the bad?
The use of drone strikes is very important to our country because they not only effectively eradicate terrorists, but they also keep our soldiers safe and reduce civilian deaths more than traditional methods of attack. Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be flown without a pilot for thousands of miles and can be utilized in many ways. These drones have been used for attaining aerial views of land and water, scanning crops, fighting wildfires, taking photographs, and searching and rescuing, as well as many other uses. The United States military has taken drones to an entirely new level where they have begun using them as lethal weapons. Equipping these drones with missiles, bombs, and other explosives the military can send them into the air and control them to attack targeted locations thus performing drone strikes. These vehicles are able to fly thousands of miles without a pilot, and execute tasks aimed at eliminating terrorists to keep our country safe.
We like to believe we live in a country where we are free and safe. The sad truth is that there are groups of people and individuals, whom we classify as terrorists, who want to take our freedom away and put us in danger. These terrorists exist all over the world with the intent of using violence to harm our country. As an effective way of defending these violent attacks, our country has resorted to the use of drone strikes. Al Qaeda is just one of several groups that’s severely threaten the United States. After September 11th 2001 when Al Qaeda members flew two planes into the World Trade Center our country has been forced to live in fear. For over a decade now our country has been living in terror and anxiety from the violent and destructive actions of that group, as well as deal with extreme measures of security. Although they have not physically attacked our country in some years now, we are still at war. We have to constantly be prepared to protect ourselves from Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The military is actively finding ways to eliminate these terrorist groups and protect our country.
An effective method that our military has discovered, that can help eliminate these terrorists more quickly and more effectively is the use of drones. On page 11 of Amitai Etzioni’s article “The Great Drone Debate” he says, “This ability to deploy force abroad with minimal United States casualties may allow America to intervene in emerging humanitarian crises across the world with a greater degree of flexibility and effectiveness.” This is evidence that with this drone technology, the military can respond to problems anywhere in the world much more quickly and effectively than we ever have been able to before. The use of drones as a military weapon first began in February of 2002 when the CIA sent an unmanned predator drone overseas to Afghanistan aiming for Osama Bin Laden. Although the mission was a failure, ever since then the use of drones has been evolving and has now become a revolutionary asset to the armed forces. Drones are now providing our military with endless amounts of capabilities and extraordinary advantages over our enemies.
President Obama, in a speech at the National Defense University said, “Dozens of highly skilled Al Qaeda commanders, trainers, bomb makers and operatives have been taken off the battlefield. Plots have been disrupted that would have targeted international aviation; US transit systems, European cities, and our troops in Afghanistan. Simply put, these strikes have saved lives.” Although President Obama has been criticized for his decisions to approve drone strikes abroad, he is completely correct. In fact “Drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia have killed upwards of 3,500 militants, including dozens of high level commanders implicated in organizing plots against the United States.” (Drones)
It is evident that these drone strikes are effectively eliminating terrorists who pose threats to our country. These foreign militants are relentlessly plotting ways to attack our country and not only have these drone strikes proven to disrupt their plots to attack our country but they have also proven to successfully eliminate these terrorists. The deaths of these militants from drone strikes are increasing the safety of our country, so why should we have to send American troops to foreign land to protect our country? Why should we have to risk a United States soldier’s life to get rid of these enemies? We shouldn’t, and that is another essential reason why the United States should continue the use of drone strikes.
The use drone strikes can take American soldiers out of foreign countries and still eliminate threatening terrorists. United States soldiers serve our country with pride, courage, and loyalty. They risk their lives each and every day knowing that if they die they are dying for their country, their brothers, our safety, and our freedom. No soldier wants to die and no family wants a military officer knocking on their door informing them that their family member has been killed in the line of duty. When soldiers are fighting on the ground they risk their lives, and frequently suffer from broken bones, gunshot wounds, amputations, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many more effects. Drones are a way of making United States troops much safer and they can do so in many different ways.
Frist, drones are remote controlled machines, which place the would-be pilot in a desk chair at the military base where he or she monitors a screen and controls the aircraft. Second, these unmanned aircrafts are much more effective because they can be flown to essentially anywhere while equipped with immense amounts of explosives, and other weapons. These drones eliminate the need for soldiers on the ground, which removes the many dangers that troops face when fighting on land such as land mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), suicide bombers, snipers, dangerous weather conditions, harsh environments, and many other hazards (Obama).
When the is no human in the drone or on the ground in another countries territory, “There’s no pilot at risk of being killed or maimed in a crash. No pilot to be taken captive by enemy forces. No pilot to cause a diplomatic crisis if shot down in a “friendly country” while bombing or spying without official permission. If a drone crashes or is shot down, the pilot back home can simply get up and take a coffee break.” (Ruder) The implementation of drone strikes removes these soldiers from the ground, keeps them at United States and allied bases, and greatly reduces the negative effects on troops. Drone strikes not only save the lives of our soldiers and prevent from any negative effects they might face when they exit the field but they also save lives of innocent civilians in these countries that we are targeting.
Whenever a war is occurring within a country the civilians are always at risk even if they are not directly in the line of fire. Civilians that are surrounded by war are inevitably in danger unless they move out of the country. Many people have the preconceived notion that drones just drop bombs on areas and are indiscriminate of the people they kill. (Hunter) However, the United States always tries to never take the life of civilians in other countries but sometimes its unavoidable and civilians are sacrificed. This is very unfortunate, however, this happens in any aspect of war, whether it is from drones or not. Drones have often been referred to as “the worst form of warfare in the history of the world, except for all the others.” (Saletan) This basically says that, yes, drones sometimes kill civilians but is it worse than the alternative? And although the death of these civilians is a bad thing, what is the proportionality? Does the good outweigh the bad?
Many fear drone strikes because civilians have died in the attacks, but drone strikes in fact dramatically reduce the amount of civilian deaths that transpire through war. Traditional weapons such as bombs, mines, mortars, and machine guns have shown that they cause much more damage and unintentional death than drone strikes. Studies have shown that drone strikes in Pakistan from 2004 to 2013 have killed 2,851 with 286 of those deaths being civilians, which is just over 10% (Drone Wars). In wars prior, the percentage of civilian casualties was at least triple and has seen percentages as high as seven times that amount. This shows drone strikes are effectively eliminating the right people, and are much more precise than previous methods of attack. In World War II, civilian deaths as a percentage were estimated at 40 to 67%, the Korean War at 70%, the Vietnam War at 31%, and the Balkan Wars were about 45% (Drones).
Drones have increased the efficiency and accuracy of our attacks in many ways; we are now eliminating terrorists, saving our troops, and protecting civilians. To conclude, the proportionality of good to bad that the use of drone strikes has is greatly outweighed by the good qualities. War is a very difficult topic to be completely correct in, so often times it is best to just be more correct, and the fact that the good aspects of drone strikes outweigh the bad aspects it provides a way for our military to be more correct. There are many reasons why drones should continue to be used. Drones provide many benefits to our counter-terrorism campaign as well as the overall welfare of our society. Our country continues to live in fear from multiple terrible attacks and we shouldn’t have to. Through the continued use of drone strikes there will be less terrorists, protected soldiers, and safer civilians, which provides a way to alleviate that fear, restore our countries confidence, and defend us from any future attacks.
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