Drones continue to perplex me. I believe that they are the best of all evils when it comes to combating terrorism worldwide. The Obama administration has embraced them and feels that they can help eliminate an imminent threat to the safety of the citizens of the United States. The drones have proven to be effective and have been a vital aspect in the abating of al Qaeda and the Taliban’s influence all over the Middle East. Since 2005, fifty top al Qaeda leaders have been killed including Anwar al- Awlaki, the American born extremist, Abu Yahya al-Libi, the second in command under Ayman al- Zawahiri, and Saeed al-Shihri, the second in command in Yemen’s branch.
With all of that being said, the idea of drone technology being used for the wrong purposes is extremely frightening. Drones should only be used for defense against dangerous terrorists abroad. Under no circumstances should they be used within the United States to kill anybody, even suspected terrorists. They should also never be used overseas to kill small-time criminals that pose no threat to the United States.
China almost gave the world a great example of when not to use drones. The Chinese government thought about using drones to kill a large-scale drug dealer located in Myanmar. The drug dealer killed a number of Chinese sailors, which initially prompted China’s angry response. Fortunately, China decided to hunt for the dealer and eventually arrest him.
If China did use a drone strike, they would have opened the floodgates for a litany of other unnecessary reasons to use the weapon. It would have also prompted other countries who have similar technology to use their drones on all enemies of the state no matter how minor they happen to be. Nobody wants to live in a world where drones do the work of police officers.
We, as global citizens, have a responsibility to make sure that the use of drones does not become casual or typical when it comes to fighting crime. In order for that to happen, the Obama Administration might have to stop using them as often as he does. We still have time to make sure two things do not happen regarding the drone: they do not become a tool of local law enforcement and they do not end up in the hands of rogue regimes such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. To avoid those two occurrences, the United States might have to make short-term sacrifices that will pay off in the long-term.
1 50th Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in 338th Drone Strike. The News. Web 4 Dec. 2012.
2 Perlez, Jane. Chinese Plan to Kill Drug Lord With Drone Highlights Military Advances. Web 20 Feb. 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/world/asia/chinese-plan-to-use-drone-highlights-military-advances.html?ref=global-home
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