Poll Update: Despite Civilian Concerns Public Supports Drone Strikes


predator drone firing missileAs the debate over the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, as a weapon against terrorism and domestically by public agencies, a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found a majority of Americans support the program overall. There is concern over civilian casualties associated with these strikes, as there should be. All possible attempts should be made to avoid civilian deaths but it is worthy of note that since 2009 the rate of civilian deaths has dropped significantly. This reduction was…

“a result of several developments, one of which was a directive issued from the White House just days after President Obama took office, to tighten up the way the CIA selected targets and carried out strikes. Specifically, Obama wanted to evaluate and sign off personally on any strike if the agency did not have a “near certainty” that it would result in zero civilian casualties.”

While the reduction or elimination of civilian casualties should always be a priority, the decisions associated with any strike such as these also have to weigh the consequences of not taking any action. What is the potential loss of life if these terrorist leaders are not struck down? This has, and always will be a weight to bear by any military decision-maker and should never be assumed that it is ever taken lightly.   

Released: February 11, 2013

While U.S. drone strikes have faced new scrutiny in recent weeks, a majority of the public continues to support the program. Overall, 56% approve of the U.S. conducting missile strikes 2-11-13 - 2 #1from pilotless aircraft to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; just 26% say they disapprove.

Opinion is largely unchanged from last July, when 55% approved of the program. Support for drone attacks crosses party lines: 68% of Republicans and 58% of Democrats say they approve of U.S. drone strikes.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 7-10 among 1,004 adults, finds that while drone strikes draw continued support, there is widespread concern that the attacks endanger innocent civilians.

Overall, 53% say they are very concerned about whether drone strikes put the lives of civilians in danger. Even among those who approve of the program, 42% say they are very concerned the attacks risk lives of innocent civilians.

Read more…

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8 Comments to “Poll Update: Despite Civilian Concerns Public Supports Drone Strikes”

  1. Some questions for Americans:
    do you approve of your government killing anyone who it dislikes?
    do you approve of killing people in violation of international laws?
    what will you do if and when other nations deploy drones on American territory?

    • Allan> Thanks for the questions;

      “do you approve of your government killing anyone who it dislikes?”

      This is not the motivation behind UAV attacks. The attacks are military targets against those who participating in, have participated in, and have continued intentions to participate in terrorist activities against civilians around the world, including the US.

      “do you approve of killing people in violation of international laws?”

      A bit of a misleading question. There are arguments on both sides but technically the jury is still out on that. There are however precedents used to justify these strikes.

      “what will you do if and when other nations deploy drones on American territory?”

      Well seeing how more countries are moving towards, or are currently using UAVs, this is of potential concern and I’m sure there has been appropriate measure taken to address that concern. Having said that, the US does have quite effective tracking and countermeasures associated with unauthorized aerial incursions into its airspace. It is quite probable that drone from another country would be detected well ahead of time. This of course does not diminish the concern over this sort of attack.

      I’d be interested in how other readers would answer these questions.

  2. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Thank you Mashed Potato Bulletin.

  3. You may be interested in reading a column on this topic in The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper:
    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2013/02/11/john_brennan_cia_drone_hearing_repeats_hideous_history_mallick.html

    • Allan>
      1) Comparing the history of war bombing in the US to this new version of war is not all that credible. It doesn’t take into account the changes and evolution of technology. We have most certainly moved much further away from the virtually indiscriminate carpet bombing of the wars from the 40’s through the early 60’s. Strikes such as those the UAVs are involved in now are much more accurate which does result in reduced civilian losses, for instance.

      2) I point you to another piece I linked to in a post I put up today illustrating the point made in #1. http://articles.cnn.com/2012-07-13/opinion/opinion_bergen-civilian-casualties_1_drone-strikes-civilian-casualties-separate-strikes

      3) While the strategies of bombing from afar may be similar policy-wise, they are not the same in nature.

      Now I am not condoning such things, I am able to comprehend the pragmatic issues surrounding the need find a balance between eliminating threats and the value of the life of innocents.

  4. This drone non issue is another distraction used by the TeaTardedRepubliCANTS to draw attention from guns & immigration. EPIC FAIL.

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