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How the U.S. drone program became central to the Obama administration’s counterterrorism efforts. The president has presided over 268 covert drone strikes, five times what George W. Bush ordered:

But the implications of drones go far beyond a single combat unit or civilian agency. On a broader scale, the remote-control nature of unmanned missions enables politicians to wage war while claiming we’re not at war – as the United States is currently doing in Pakistan. What’s more, the Pentagon and the CIA can now launch military strikes or order assassinations without putting a single boot on the ground – and without worrying about a public backlash over U.S. soldiers coming home in body bags. The immediacy and secrecy of drones make it easier than ever for leaders to unleash America’s military might – and harder than ever to evaluate the consequences of such clandestine attacks.
'Drones have really become the counterterrorism weapon of choice for the Obama administration,' says Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown law professor who helped establish a new Pentagon office devoted to legal and humanitarian policy. 'What I don't think has happened enough is taking a big step back and asking, “Are we creating more terrorists than we're killing? Are we fostering militarism and extremism in the very places we're trying to attack it?” A great deal about the drone strikes is still shrouded in secrecy. It's very difficult to evaluate from the outside how serious of a threat the targeted people pose.'

"The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret." — Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone
See also: "Predators and Robots at War." — Christian Caryl, New York Review of Books, Sept. 20, 2011

How the U.S. drone program became central to the Obama administration’s counterterrorism efforts. The president has presided over 268 covert drone strikes, five times what George W. Bush ordered:

But the implications of drones go far beyond a single combat unit or civilian agency. On a broader scale, the remote-control nature of unmanned missions enables politicians to wage war while claiming we’re not at war – as the United States is currently doing in Pakistan. What’s more, the Pentagon and the CIA can now launch military strikes or order assassinations without putting a single boot on the ground – and without worrying about a public backlash over U.S. soldiers coming home in body bags. The immediacy and secrecy of drones make it easier than ever for leaders to unleash America’s military might – and harder than ever to evaluate the consequences of such clandestine attacks.

'Drones have really become the counterterrorism weapon of choice for the Obama administration,' says Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown law professor who helped establish a new Pentagon office devoted to legal and humanitarian policy. 'What I don't think has happened enough is taking a big step back and asking, “Are we creating more terrorists than we're killing? Are we fostering militarism and extremism in the very places we're trying to attack it?” A great deal about the drone strikes is still shrouded in secrecy. It's very difficult to evaluate from the outside how serious of a threat the targeted people pose.'

"The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret." — Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone

See also: "Predators and Robots at War." — Christian Caryl, New York Review of Books, Sept. 20, 2011

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  1. ishqoinqilab reblogged this from longreads and added:
    Basically just summed it up.
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