April 28th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

To drone or not? Hearing questions drone attacks' legality

WASHINGTON — Congress delved Wednesday into the politically explosive issue of unmanned drone attacks, questioning the legality of operations increasingly used to combat al Qaeda and Taliban militants in countries such as Pakistan.

In the eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, unmanned aircraft - or drones - attacked militant targets 45 times.

Since President Barack Obama took office, the numbers have risen sharply: 51 last year and 29 so far this year.

Most attacks have targeted suspected militant hideouts in Pakistan. While the United States is the only country in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from drones - which are controlled remotely - U.S. officials normally do not comment on suspected drone strikes.

Based on a CNN count, all of the 29 drone strikes this year have hit locations in North Waziristan and South Waziristan, along the 1,500-mile porous border that Pakistan shares with Afghanistan.

Several top U.S. law professors debated the legality of the attacks in a hearing before the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, the second such hearing held by the subcommittee within the past two months.

"The United States is committed to following international legal standards," said Rep. John Tierney, D-Massachusetts, the subcommittee's chairman. "Our interpretation of how these standards apply to the use of unmanned weapons systems will set an example for other nations to follow."

The four legal scholars invited to testify, however, offered sharply contrasting views of what constitutes an acceptable legal standard. The biggest controversy appeared to surround the legality of strikes conducted by CIA operatives, as opposed to the U.S. military.

"Only a combatant - a lawful combatant - may carry out the use of killing with combat drones," said Mary Ellen O'Connell, a professor from the University of Notre Dame law school.

"The CIA and civilian contractors have no right to do so. They do not wear uniforms, and they are not in the chain of command. And most importantly they are not trained in the law of armed conflict."

O'Connell also claimed that "we know from empirical data ... that the use of major military force in counterterrorism operations has been counterproductive." The U.S. government, she asserted, should only use force "when we can accomplish more good than harm, and that is not the case with the use of drones in places like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia."

David Glazier, a professor from Loyola law school in Los Angeles, California, defended the drone attacks on the grounds that there is "no dispute that we are in an armed conflict with al Qaeda and with the Taliban." That fact "allows the United States to call upon the full scope of authority which is provided by the law of war."

Glazier said there is "nothing within the law of war that prohibits the use of drones. In fact, the ability of the drones to engage in a higher level of precision and to discriminate more carefully between military and civilian targets than has existed in the past actually suggests that they're preferable to many older weapons."

He conceded, however, that there are legitimate concerns over the CIA's use of drones. CIA personnel are "clearly not lawful combatants (and) if you are not a privileged combatant, you simply don't have immunity from domestic law for participating in hostilities."

Glazier warned that "any CIA personnel who participate in this armed conflict run the risk of being prosecuted under the national laws of the places where (the combat actions) take place." CIA personnel, he said, could be guilty of war crimes.

William Banks, the founding director of Syracuse University's Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, said the U.S. government has engaged in targeted killings of individual combatants dating at least back to a 1916 border war with Mexican bandits.

Banks said the authors of the 1947 National Security Act, which traditionally gives the CIA much of its legal authority, likely didn't contemplate the targeted killings tied to drone attacks. But the statute, he said, was "designed as dynamic authority to be shaped by practice and by necessity."

"The intelligence laws permit the president broad discretion to utilize the nation's intelligence agencies to carry out national security operations, implicitly including targeted killing," he said. U.S. laws "supply adequate - albeit not well articulated or understood - legal authority for these drone strikes."

Peter Bergen, a fellow at the New America Foundation, could not say definitively prior to the hearing why U.S. drone attacks have increased so significantly during the Obama administration. He cited a revenge factor, however, saying that U.S. forces are upset and want retribution for the brazen bombing of a CIA base in eastern Afghanistan that killed seven Americans on December 30.

"The people who died in this suicide attack were involved in targeting people on the other side of the border," he said earlier this year.

Long War Journal, an online publication that charts data for U.S. airstrikes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan, says the air campaign "remains the cornerstone of the effort to root out and decapitate the senior leadership of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other allied terror groups, and to disrupt both al Qaeda's global and local operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Such attacks, which have taken a civilian toll in many cases, have frequently caused tension between Pakistan and the United States. 

–CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report

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Filed under: Drone strikes • Obama • Pakistan • Pentagon
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Greg

    One key piece of instruction I give all my trainees–you must be motivated by the love you have for those you are defending, NOT by hatred for those you are fighting against. Hatred never inspires courage and bravery. The greatest and most honorable Soldier fights FOR someone/thing, not against.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. LiveFreeor

    Baaaaa....I am living in a tent, eating Beanie Weanies...I can't afford a tire for my bike so I can make a trip down to the unemployment office, but !#$% it! We need to spend more US dollars chasing Muslims around Afghanistan because they pose a grave threat to us here in the USA! A trillion dollars is simply not enough.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Greg

    Me–Afghan war vet, U.S. Army drill sergeant. I do my best to turn the youth of our country into killers. BUT, killers with a conscience, killers that not only know HOW to kill but WHO, WHEN, and WHY to kill. The laws of land warfare make us better than the enemy. Our righteousness keeps our mission in the right. Please stop suggesting that we should conduct ourselves based upon the enemy's tactics. We are not thugs or terrorists. We are experts and professionals. Just because Islamic extremists employ a tactic doesn't make it right (or a good idea) for us to do it. We're better than them.

    Re the legality of CIA-controlled UAVs–of course it's illegal for the CIA to use UAVs to kill people. The CIA knows this, just as a CIA operative undercover overseas knows that is would be illegal to kill a foreigner, and if (s)he is caught, (s)he is subject to the laws of the country that caught them. Many US intelligence operatives have been captured and tried for espionage/treason; the US in turn as caught and prosecuted foreign spies in this country. That's the danger of working in intelligence. If Pakistan wants to send their law enforcement agents to Langley and arrest some CIA personnel–good luck. The CIA is not in violation of US law for piloting/killing with UAVs, but are obviously committing murder by Pakistani law.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brigitte

    If the CIA or any operator at a far away computer station operating the drones can enter a country with which the US is not at war in order to kill at will people the US unilaterally declared to be terrorists, then so can the other side. It makes 9/11 mere collateral damage from the standpoint of al Qaida and leaves the US without any legal argument against that interpretation. The relatives of the civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia which were killed in ill conceived aerial drone attacks all have a right for restitution against the US. In Iraq, which the US invaded illegally, that is over a million dead people. In Afghanistan, which the US also invaded illegally – every nation has a right to refuse extradition of a person unless proof of criminal wrongdoing is provided – it is close to a million people who got killed by the US.

    Since the US, fighting a war against people who refuse to abide by US interests, claims to be at war with "terrorists", independent of which country those are in, and gives itself a right to targeted killings executed by non-army personnel – then the same is applicable for the Islamic fighters: they are at war with US invaders, military as well as civilian, that is all US people, no matter in which country they may be. Obviously, both sides in a conflict have the same rights to attack their enemy in self-defense.

    It follows, that the US is fighting not a war on terror, but instead, is engaging in full-blown terrorism itself, that is: a totalitarian war. it will in time engage in totalitarian measures in the US homeland as well. All empires become totalitarian when their supremacy crumbles.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. patriot

    case and point you used violence to protect yourself and your household. you purchased a weapon now multiply that by 700,000 soldier in the army alone. im not a mathematician but i know that isnt cheap. Now you need to buy bullets at least 120 per soldier wow the numbers are adding up pretty damn quick. good thing you have your gun though. sure would be hard to defend yourself against someone that has a gun when your packin a stick.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kill or Be Killed

    LiveFreeor,

    Please read the posts above, and then rationally explain the fundamental difference between an IED, and a UAV. The fact that we have a technological advantage, barely outweighs the advantage that the Taliban has on the ground, given the extreme terrain, and their long-planned, extensive building and use of caves, bunkers and other fortified positions.

    Fighting in such areas makes tanks and most of the other advanced weapons that we have relatively useless. Our primary advantage is air power, which includes UAVs. Aside from just being attack vehicles, they are used extensively for surveillance, using cameras, night-vision and infra-red/heat-detecting sensors.

    If the Taliban got their hands on a drone, or far worse, any form of nuclear weapon, do you really think that they would hesitate for one second to use it? Are you really that naïve? If so, then please feel free to pack your bags, and let me know to what country of pure blissful peace you will be relocating. As was pointed out above, the Taliban has used drones––they were American Airlines and United Airlines Boeing aircraft, which they flew into the center of New York, the Pentagon and thankfully (to the extent that that term applies) a field in Pennsylvania––rather than another target in DC. Those attacks alone exceed by tenfold the total number of wonderful, humane, loving individuals in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who have been targeted by UAVs. Oh, and if you think that we are operating in Pakistan, without the full support of the Pakistani military, well, then you are truly are as naïve as you sound.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. LiveFreeor

    Sorry about the delay....some fool just broke into my house and tried to kick my pooch and hop in the sack with my honey....fortunately I was armed and dispatched the idiot. Self-defense is not nearly as expensive as the US Military makes it out to be!

    April 29, 2010 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. gorgegirl

    Yes, "E" is correct, but others on this post arent'.

    If you want to invest in "unmanned aircraft" like the ScanEagle, go to Boeing for your investment. They own the company that produces the ScanEagle.

    As to whether a drone or unmanned aircraft is following a motorcycle gang – could be. In order to fly an unmanned aircraft, you have to have approval from the FAA.

    The ScanEagle and the NightEagle both have a flght endurance of 24 hours. The Integrator is larger and has longer endurance. I think it can cross the Atlantic without any problem. The ScanEagle and NightEagle have a wingspan of about 10 ft while the Integrator is 16 ft. The payload on the Integrator is about 50 lbs compared to only about 15 lbs on the ScanEagle and NightEagle. The NightEagle is equipped for night vision. The speed of it and the ScanEagle is 90 knots whereas the Integrator can go as fast as 90 knots. All stay usually under 20,000 ft altitude.

    So there you have it. I just happen to live in the community where these products are manufactured for the armed services, for border patrol, for law enforcement and surveilance, for shoreline surveilance, aerial photography etc.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. patriot

    Very well played Darryl.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. Can't say enough

    Rules? Rules? Wow. We need to give these pacifists a copy of Roberts "Rules of Order" and a one way ticket to Afghanistan. Go tell the Talibs to play fair and be nice or take their toys and go . . . . home

    April 29, 2010 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Darryl Phillips

    The question is whether civilians can make war. That is the only question. What happened at 9/11 or any other time is beside the point, the question remains, can civilians make war?

    The definition of terrorism is civilians making war. We're supposed to be figthting terrorism. So we should be fighting the idea of civilians making war. Right?

    We have a system of government and all these guys have sworn to uphold it. That means the Prez is commander of chief of the military and the chain of command goes down from there. The CIA (or the Food & Drug Administration or the bureau of weights and measures) are not military and if they make war they're doing exactly what we're fighting against.

    Drones? Fine, if that's the way to go. Target Afghanistanis? Sure, if that makes sense. I'm not arguing against the war, not arguing against winning it. But we cannot protect our system of government by violating it. Let the CIA people join the military, then they can fly drones legally. But not until.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. patriot

    Exactly never mind the humanitarian mission the us has provided to other countries that beg for our help. To hell with them right bill. Thats what your saying isnt it. Naturally its the US in the spot light not the other countries also involved in the wars. The us is always the bad guy right bill. What you are suggesting is isolationism. shut off our borders focus inward and let the rest of the world rot. good plan bill

    April 29, 2010 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kenny

    Worst headline EV-AR:

    Hearing: gerund or noun
    Questions: verb or plural noun
    Drone: noun or verb (meant as noun, but introduced in question as verb)
    Attacks (without apostrophe): plural noun or verb.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. bill

    How many of you gung ho knuckle grazes have ever set foot out side the USA. The sum of your comments seem to be, kill anything that moves, turn the country side into a car park, and be home for the holidays. This has been your nations policy for the last 50 years. You never seem to ask the obvious question, why are we always at war with someone. Please don't tell me that people envy you. Why would anyone envy America, You are broke, kill each other at the rate of 11,000 per year, over a million families are having there homes repoed recently, and you cant afford to give everyone decent health care. If you want a future go home and fix your problems and leave the rest of the world to fix theirs.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. patriot

    LiveFreeor You still havent answered my question but im sure we know the answer. So the fact that we are targeting known terrorist with million dollar missles is a war crime. Do you honestly believe they wouldnt do it in a heart beat given the chance. Enjoy your ignorance, it must be bliss. You simple have no clue.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  16. LiveFreeor

    If the Taliban were using drones we would be outraged that they were killing civilians in countries that they had not formally declared war on. It really is wonderful to be on the other side of those million dollar missiles and bombs....until we are not. Everyone should read Mark Twain's War Prayer...it is enlightening.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  17. patriot

    LiveFreeor you are welcome to move out of the trillion dollar war machines flock at any time we wont miss you.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  18. patriot

    Lets use your method of sitting around and doing nothing, im sure the terrorists would love to hear that we give up. Not only would we be just as bankrupt we would be under islamic rule. LiveFreeor join the service complete a combat tour then maybe you will have a glimpse of what we have brought to that country. To include medical supplies, Building supplies, money and freedom. I ask you how would you solve this problem? If a man entered your home kicked your dog and slept with your wife how would you respond with kindness or outright rage. be honest

    April 29, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  19. LiveFreeor

    God help us sheep if the Trillion Dollar Genocidal War Machine called the US Military is our sheep dog. Get me the @#$% out of this flock before we all die or go bankrupt!

    April 29, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  20. LiveFreeor

    God help the sheep if the Trillion Dollar Genocidal Machine called the US Military is my sheep dog. Get me the @#$% out of this flock before we all die or go bankrupt!

    April 29, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  21. live free or move

    LiveFreeor lets take your idea we will all just get our intel from the news and gossip that is a much more accurate way of targeting people that strike us idiot

    April 29, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  22. Just a thought

    I wonder if the Taliban get together and discuss the legality of IEDs....

    April 29, 2010 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  23. LiveFreeor

    Another example of terrorists, wearing no military uniforms to identify themselves and using civilians as cover while they kill the enemy and other civilians! This is the worst form of terrorism and we must end it!!! While were at it, let's disband the whole damn CIA.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  24. patriot

    It is good to know that there are people in my own country that wish my brothers and I harm simple for protecting them. It breaks down to a simple story of the sheep and the sheep dog. The sheep always hate the sheep dog, as they see them as a threat, never knowing the sheep dog only has the sheeps best interest at heart. DAN is a classic example of a sheep, the dedicated men and women that serve as unmanned aerial vehicle operators would be the sheep dogs. for every Unmanned Aerial Vehicle we deploy, I do not have to worry about patching another blast injury or gun shot. All of those against using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are basically telling Soldiers like my self to go off and die. Dan learn to speak arabic go to Iraq or Afganistan and see how long you last. Stop believing everything you hear on the news and get the real facts of what is going on over there. To all others who are against using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, I hope ou find out one day exactly why we have Glorious men and woman who have decided to protect the sheep.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  25. me

    yankee, you can't reason with these fools. they're all racists, and racism is ignorance, so i'll let you take that where it belongs. they are illegal, and two wrongs do not make a right. i do not want my close ones in the military hurt just like you all don't. i do recognize that they signed up to fight in a war they agreed with, and get a pay check for it. they do not regret their decisions. regardless of all of this racism and ignorance, the law is the law. you can't just go throwing laws out the window because you're too mad to make responsible decisions. dan, if you're going to respond so much .... edit your stuff - it's incredibly difficult to follow what you're saying.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  26. Mic

    First it was pong, then pacman, then the drone. Soon it will be the 'Terminator' to end all the Islamic terrorists.

    God Bless America and its technology.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  27. Mulada

    @cbrees29 Sad, yet true. The two people closest to the theater commander are usually the lawyer and the logistician.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  28. OCCent

    Seriously? We're in big trouble if we have to bring a lawyer with us into the battlefield so he/she can pronounce whether we can defend ourselves.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  29. Kill or Be Killed

    Dear Yankee Doodle (and Daniel-2 as well),

    The UAVs are illegal? Please cite your legal source for that statement. While you are at it, please identify what case in the “International Court of Law" determined UAVs to be illegal. In essence, it is nothing other than a plane, with missiles––only the pilot is not on board. Would your statement would be any different, if it was an F-18? If so, then it only further exposes your ignorance.

    We are at war in Afghanistan, so the use of one aerial vehicle versus another, is just semantics. Why are the Taliban so upset about the UAVs? Because, they are remarkably effective, they have been picking off their leaders, one-by-one, and they have instilled a sense of fear not previously experienced; in other words, they are doing their job extremely well. So well, that the Taliban now try to avoid being seen meeting together, or traveling in multiple vehicles, or otherwise being able to go about planning how to kill us with nothing to worry about.

    As for Daniel-2, if you want to see the modern version of Nazi Germany, get on the next plane to Pakistan, and head straight to the tribal areas. Make sure to bring a copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Geneva Convention. When they are done laughing at you––long enough to shoot you––maybe, if you are lucky, you will hear the sound of a Predator overhead before you die. For the record, I am mostly left of center on the majority of political issues, but we are in a war, against an enemy that has attacked our Country like no other, and given the chance, would do it all over again. So, to that extent, it is kill or be killed. I know which one I would pick, for myself, my children and the rest of the free world.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt Daunis

      I say Forget all methods previous and nuke all of em. They are required my their culture to kill all of us, it's kill or be killed,

      July 19, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  30. Mulada

    This article and many of the responses cloud the issue by ignoring the fact that drones don't attack anything. To borrow a phrase, drones don't kill people, people kill people. The drones, unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV), whatever you want to call them, are controlled by pilots and sensor operators that target the onboard weapons and then launch them. Maybe those commands come from local(ish) command and control vehicles, maybe from Langley, maybe Indian Springs, but there is always a man in the loop. There are not autonomous drones wandering the airways looking for things to blow up.

    The legal issue revolves around the rules of [non-conventional] warfare, and in particular exactly who is doing the killing. If an F-15E crew (military pilot and weapon systems operator) plants a 2000lb bomb in Afghanistan from 24,000 feet up, no legal issues. If an Air Force UCAV crew (military pilot and sensor operator) launch a Maverick in Afghanistan while sipping a Starbucks back at Creech AFB, the color goes a little gray but it's essentially all good. But if American Dad pushes the pickle button from Langley on his way out the door to pick up the kids from school, we may have a conundrum.

    If so, then we need to do whatever we need to do to fix it. Perhaps an Executive Order. Remember, the military is simply a tool for advancing national policy when diplomacy fails, and it is a regrettable fact that people get killed in that pursuit. Likewise, sometimes nominally civilian agencies kill people in the interests of our national security. I say stick a military liason in the room and point the finger at him if anyone asks who blew up the evil terrorist.

    Personally, I'm thankful for each and every one of them regardless of where they sit, and grateful for the technology that allows them to put the hurt on the bad guy while staying out of harm's reach.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  31. Human

    All you sicko Fascist are proving that Hitler's vision is still living. You warmongers, nothing can quench your thirst for blood and kills. May God have mercy on you all and make you more human.
    Violence will achieve nothing. Violence begets violence !

    April 29, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  32. History

    Yankee Doodle, in all likelyhood drones are probably flying missions right now. I'm not screaming at all, I'm sitting at home here in America getting ready to go to sleep knowing that drones are out there taking the fight to enemies of United States of America. If you're concerned about their legality then write your congressman and tell him/her that you're upset about positive progress being made in the War on Terror.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  33. john

    What are you talking about "innocent" civilians? The only reason they call them "innocent" civilians is because the terrorists wear the same things and the news organizations are run by terrorist supporters and tell you that. If you don't like drones, I'm sure my cousins, Army Rangers, would be more than happy to give you their snipers rifle and sub-machine gun to go over there and do what they're doing every day. They are putting themselves in harms way so that next time you go onto an airplane you don't have to worry about it flying into the Sears Tower or the White House. So I guess guided missiles are illegal in your mind as well?

    April 29, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  34. Yankee Doodle

    To all the dronies. DRONES ARE ILLEGAL. Period. Eat your heart out. Ya all can scream all you want. The fact remains "These DRONES ARE ILLEGAL IN THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF LAW" especially when they kill and maime such huge number of innocent civillians.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  35. History

    This is out of control, I find it odd that so many people who know NOTHING about war (save for what they heare in a weekly episode of 60-Mintues or dateline NBC) have so much to say about war. If you want to know what war is all about then go see your local Armed Services recruiter and sign up. No book or news article can ever capture the true reality of war; you need to experience it. Once you really see the face of the enemy we face today you wont have a problem with what thes drones are doing. The bottom line is that these drones kill enemies of the United States of America.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Daniel-2

    As I'm already fully aware of the fact that we're living in a sick society.MIKE,DAN and the rest of you warmongers,must you keep on proving it with all these right-wing blogs??? It reminds me of Nazi Germany.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Don't hold back, why don't you tell everyone who' side you are really on.

      June 4, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  37. john

    So if you are saying drones are wrong, are guided missiles wrong as well? A guided missile is doing the same thing basically except with more bang for the buck and being fired from a plane going Mach two or from a 190000 ton warship. Would you rather have a person paragliding with a bazooka trying to shoot these guys out or have the same guy sitting in a cave in Colorado somewhere with the most advanced weaponry in the world? I personally would rather have the guy in the mountain coming home to his family after a hard day at work keeping our country safe alive then having the same guy come home 4 months later in a body bag.
    If there was a full scale invasion many more REAL innocent civilians would be killed by trigger happy Marines. The military should have been using these a LONG time ago in this region and I think a lot more would already be done. I want to thank the men and women over there on the ground risking their lives to protect our country but also to the guys in Colorado who are preventing many deaths through their hard work. Also the people who have invented these drones and missiles should be thanked as well. Keep on firing and blowing the "innocent" civilians while we protect the real ones.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Kill or Be Killed

    E is completely correct. These are not some robotic planes, pre-programmed and sent off to strike indiscriminately. They are in correct terminology, remote-controlled, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. See this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MQ-1_Predator

    It is effectively no different than if we sent in a helicopter or a jet, except that these UAVs are quieter, more versatile, can stay aloft for days, and in the event that they are shot down, no U.S. airman or airwoman dies.

    As others have pointed out, the Taliban are about as ruthless as any enemy that we have ever faced. They rule by death and intimidation, and if they had drones, they would have no problem using them to attack anyone and everyone, day or night, civilian or military–anything to spread their message of fear.

    The fact that we go to the lengths that we do to verify targets and limit attacks to avoid collateral civilian casualties, is indicative of the fact that while we are at war, we are still abiding by the long-standing generally accepted rules of engagement. The Afghanistan war, and the war in Iraq, are the first wars where we have really had this equipment and used it to its fullest capability. D-Day would have been a whole different story, and tens of thousands of U.S. and allied soldiers would not have died valiantly and needlessly, if we had a few Predators back then.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  39. DAN

    DRONE DRONE DRONE -- I AM A LICENSED PILOT THAT FLEW PLANES WHICH MEANT SOMEONE WAS ALIVE IN MY PLANE. ANYTHING ELSE IS A DRONE OR A REMOTE CONTROLLED SOMETHING.
    LET OUR PILOTLESS DDDDDDDDDRONES BE PILOTED BY THE BEST AS THEY ARE AND I WISH THEM THE BEST, EVEN IF I STILL CALL THEM DRONES.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Dr. Fox

    CIA not “privileged combatant[s].” Have they lost their minds? The CIA is the home of some of our best trained forces. This discussion is a joke.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  41. DAN

    I THINK I'LL INVEST IN DRONE STOCK BECAUSE OF ITS ACCURACY IT HAS TO GO UP. I FIND IT VERY HARD TO BELIEVE THAT ANY OF OUR SOLDIERS OR DRONE PILOTS TAKE ANY PLEASURE IN KNOWING HOW GOOD OR ACCURATE THEY ARE FOR THE NECESSARY EVIL TO PROTECT THE USA AND MAYBE MOST OF THE OTHER COUNTRIES.
    ANYONE THAT THINKS DIFFERENTLY SHOULD BE MADE TO OFFER THEIR FIRST BORN FOR THE CAUSE.
    I REALLY DO RESENT PEOPLE FROM OVER-SEAS USING THE USA AS A STEPPING STONE FOR THEIR BETTERMENT AND ESPECIALLY USING A NAME THAT SOUNDS LIKE AND "AMERICAN".

    April 28, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  42. cbrees29@yahoo.com

    Let's all let a lawyer dictate the rules of war for us. I love it every time I hear that a drone has killed a terrorist. I can see bin laden asking a lawyer for permission to kill Americans. Quit being so soft. War is war. Spare an American soldier, use a drone...kill a terrorist.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  43. MIKE

    BOMB BOMB BOMB BOMB LOL

    I LOVE DRONES

    April 28, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  44. E

    Here is a little knowledge for all:

    Unmanned airplanes are not "drones" nor is it correct to completely call them "unmanned." A drone is defined as a aircraft piloted by a computer, or some sort of artificial intelligence program. Our planes that are flying around, saving military and civilian lives, are piloted by People. People can see the images that the plane transmits at all time, people make the decision to attack and people make the decisions of the plane. People also take off and land this aircraft.

    We really need to end this image of this new technology as some sort of "drone" because that it completely incorrect. Why we may not be up in the air with it, it is not computer based, it is human based and to call it a drone, and give it that sort of image is wrong and damaging to all the good the aircraft can, and does, for us. Unfortunantly the people who call it a "Drone" are all sitting in the news room creating stories they havent properly researched.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  45. DAN

    MY HAT IS OFF TO #49 & 51 REGARDLESS ABOUT THE CAPS.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  46. mindy1

    I LOVE DRONES

    April 28, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Curt99

    If you want to use predator drones on the perpetrators of 911 bush lives in texas and cheney you can find under a rock somewhere where the sun doesnt shine. Need i say more.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  48. demy f.r.

    It seems the use of the drone is better than actual soldiers specially in unfamilliar terrain. The problem lies on the wrong target but as it is said "in war" often there is calamity damaged which cannot be fully avoided but could be minimized. It must be a must that all those who handled the drone be meticulously doing there jobs with thorough and proper investigative informations. Another thing to be considered is the fact that in most cases the enemy are using the civilians as covers and propaganda aggravates the problem. The need for proper monitoring.
    Whatever is best would be better for both sides.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Kill or Be Killed

    Dio, my hat is off to you. Awesome response, before I could type about the exact same thing, Any more questions Jack?

    April 28, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Dio

    We are Jack, we're very pissed. They used drones full of people. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. Piloted by brainwashed robots who provoked all of these events. We are making sure the next round of robots don't leave the factory.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Garrett Kohl

    The fact that Pakistan has never ATTEMPTED to down a drone should really tell you how ILLEGAL this really is. Pakistan allows it, and probably benefits from the intel the drones collect in their own actions in the area.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Kill or Be Killed

    I am not going to type in all caps, and I am going to try to spell correctly, and use proper grammar. We are at war, a real war. Unfortunately, in this war, the other side does not dress up in Redcoats, or other easily identifiable uniforms; they dress like the local civilians, and they intentionally locate weapons and military positions in places such as schools, hospitals and even mosques.

    It is not as if we had the option of sending a police car into Northern Waziristan, with an arrest warrant for one of these terrorists: it would be blown to bits by an IED, before it even arrived. So, using IEDs as an example––for those of you against the use of drones––what is the practical difference between the two? Answer: nothing except our technological advantage. They plant IEDs for the express purpose of killing our soldiers. They either have them booby-trapped or can set them off remotely by cell phone, when they see a "target of opportunity." They don't care who is in the vehicles, nor do they do anything to check to make sure that it is actually a military combatant that they are about to blow up. So, consider the drones to be flying IEDs, only we actually go through a lot of prior verification, to ensure that we are going after a real “target of opportunity”. Are we perfect? No. Will anyone ever be? No. Are we doing much better than just "carpet bombing" North Viet Nam? Yes, by a long shot (no pun intended).

    This is the nature of this war. We cannot get at the enemy where they are located by conventional means; particularly when they are holed-up in a lawless tribal area that the central governments of Pakistan and/or Afghanistan are unable to control. If it was your friend, child, or relative over there, would you rather hear that four or five dangerous militants were killed in an unmanned drone strike, or would you rather face the news that such person needlessly died, trying to cross mountains and valleys, dodging bombs and bullets, in an effort to kill the same people? It is a lot cheaper to talk when you have no stake in the game, but having friends who are over there makes this a lot more personal to me; but far less than those who have family members over there.

    This leaves two stark choices: a huge conventional invasion that will inevitably cost thousands of coalition casualties, thousands of enemy deaths, as well as thousands of collateral civilian casualties; or the surgical use of our flying IEDs, risking no coalition soldiers’ lives, and comparatively, few “innocent” civilian lives. It may also send a stark message to the local population, that it is not safe having these people in your town, much less your house, school or mosque, as they seem to attract missile strikes. Ultimately, once the locals decide that life will be better without the terrorists there, and no longer provide cover and refuge for them, an enormous swing in the battle will take place. The sooner the better. Go drones.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Jack

    I'm sure if foreigners invaded our country and used drones on us ya'll would be pissed.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Mike S

    Let's make drone's illegal. While we are at it, let's make all types of weapons illegal. Then, we can pass an international law that says killing is wrong and can't be done any more.
    Yea, I think that will fix everything.

    Back to reality....I would prefer that war only be waged by our military. Using the CIA or any other agency to gather intel is fine but actual act of war should be military.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Dio

    Legality? never thought I'd live to see the day when we allow legality to hinder in the protection of our country. Are we so ignorant to feel that its any different if we had a carrier off the coast sending our brave men into harm's way to bomb these targets? the purpose of the drones is to keep our brave men and women from going into harm's way into these countries who knowingly harbor terrorists. How can we possibly say we love our country when we hinder our rights to defend ourselves from those who want to destroy our country and our way of lives? Whether storming into their caves with a bayonet, an F-18 or a cruise missile, no matter if its a DOD civilian or an air force pilot, we all have the right and duty to defend our country.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • A dude

      I don't believe in drones, but I do agree that the 'legality' issue isn't a convincing argument. But I don't think it's meant to be - the goal now is transfer drone operations to the military because they are generally more accountable than the CIA. It's who operates the drones, not the use of drones that is being called into question (at least more recently).

      June 5, 2010 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  56. john

    I agree with the B52 bombers. That would tear those mountains apart and the "innocent" civilians hiding in caves and bunkers wouldn't have anywhere else to hide. Whoever said that we are killing tons of "innocent" civilians is an idiot. I don't see real innocent civilians living in the bunkers and caves. These drones aren't just firing into crowded city streets not knowing what or who they're shooting at. They are firing at a small group of people in a small setting and know exactly what, where, and who they are blowing the **** out of. Anyone who doesn't like this, go over there yourself with an M16 and see how long you last in those mountains hunting the "innocent" civilians.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Naor

    This is utter ridiculousness. You people are debating the legality of drone attacks? Is this serious? Who ever came up with these laws of war are morons, there are NO rules to war. You think our enemies follow any "rules"? War is a nasty thing, people need to stop trying to pacify it. Either outlaw war completely, or give our troops the right to use any responsible force they need to get the job done. For those of you who complain at every move our army makes, and who complain about the "illegality" of these strikes; you are playing a direct role in the death of our soldiers. It is because of you people who accept these bogus "rules of war" that our soldiers are afraid to use the force they need to accomplish this mission. Either withdraw our troops and admit publicly these wars are stupid and not worth the effort, which they're not, or let our troops do what they need to do over there to keep themselves safe. Do not send our troops to armed conflicts and then tie they're hands because you don't want another country to cry about our "violations" of the Geneva Conventions. You think our grandparents gave a second thought to if what they're doing is "legal" when they bombed the Nazis? No, our grandparents did whatever was necessary to win, and that's why they did. With you people complaining about every attack our soldiers make as being "illegal", we shall never win another war again, and I hold the politicians who even debate this crap as responsible for the excessive body bags our boys are coming home in.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  58. DAN

    WHY DON'T YOU GO OVER THERE AND LOOK UP AND HOPE

    April 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  59. AN OLD MAN

    I have a nagging question. I've noticed that whenever American and allied forces attack terrorist groups, it's always we who cause the collateral deaths and damage. The hew and cry goes up about how bad we are. How evil and inhumane,

    Now with the drone surgical attacks being an obvious attempt a surgical strikes to minimize collateral damage and death, we hear how inhumane we are.

    From my lowly perspectice I'm getting the impression the Taliban who torch shools, murder innocent children seeking an education, cut the throats of people who don't agree with them and just generally make Hitler look like a saint are the good guys in all this>

    Correct me if i"m wrong, but seems to me those who condemn American and it's allies sure seem to be in favor of the Taliban and Al Quaeda systems of democracy.

    Oh wait, I know what it is, they're terrified of a regime that would sooner cut out the tongues of children than allow a girl to read a book. Better to condemn a country that allows free speech than one that will kill you, and your family for not following strict guidelines of life and belief.

    Fear is the weapon of the terrorist and it works quite well on the masses.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • A dude

      Yeah, if terrorists can kill civilians, why can't we? It's only fair!... Listen, old man. If this is your line of reasoning, I advise that you seek therapy. As a model of peace and democracy, America should strive to win its wars with the least carnage possible. The fact that our enemies kill civilians is NOT an excuse to do this ourself.

      June 5, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  60. Droned

    Drones = won't question killing innocent people. And the army can't give a court martial to a drone.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  61. DAN

    RMS PLEASE DO ALL MY WRITING FOR ME. YOU ARE ON TARGET AND MAKES SENSE TOO.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  62. RMS

    The discussion to stop drone attacks is as idiotic as the cessation of bombing Hanoi and Haiphong during the Vietnam War. The issue is whether to commit troops to boots on the ground, or utilize technology to do the task. As a VV, I opt to save as many lives as possible by utilizing drones. As tragic as collateral damage is at times, drones save more "innocent" lives than they cost. Go ahead and ban them, that's just what the enemy wants, and as usual, the Congress, Senate, and backseaters in government are running the war rather than letting the military do its job~

    April 28, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  63. DAN

    35, 36, AND 37 MUST HAVE CHANGED THEIR NAME BECAUSE THE ONE THEY ARE USING IS AMERICAN.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Andrew

    Legality?Are you kidding me?These people blow up markets with civilians all over the place....they can rot.Torture and burn them.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  65. DAN

    IF YOU THAT ARE AGAINST THE USE OF DRONES ARE USA FATHERS OR MOTHERS, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, HOPE THAT YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER GETS A CHANCE OF REALITY UP CLOSE AND VERY PERSONAL. I'M SURE YOU HAVE BEEN TRAINING THEM FROM BIRTH AS THEY DO OVER THERE. MAY THE BIG "A" OR IS IT THE BIG "A??" SMILE ON YOU.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Daniel-2

    Well put,Mr.Davidson.And besides,they need to outlaw those cursed drones which slaughter people indicriminately and prosecute the filthy creeps who operate them in an international war crimes tribunal where judges cannot be bought nor paid for and dealt with appropriately.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      And how would you go about prosecuting the "filthy creeps" who plant IED's

      June 4, 2010 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  67. DAN

    I'LL MAKE A BET THAT THE ONES THAT ARE AGAINST OUR USE OF A PROVEN METHOD OF GETTING RID OF TERRORISTS, SUCH AS DRONES ARE OVER HERE ON USA MONEY GOING TO SCHOOL OR PLOTTING TO BLOW UP ONE OF OUR CITYS.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Mr. Davidson

    Besides the fact that nobody in Afganistan had anything to do with 9/11,except that Bin Laden was there temporarily and much with the support of Pakistan.All the highjackers and all the money came from outside of Afganistan. Drones kill innocent civilians without Identification ,arrest ,or trial and the war we create there only turns Afgans against us. It's not the right war or a just war and certainly not legitimate. It is Obamas excuse out of Iraq and to not appear weak but does in no way make this nation safer in any respect.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  69. taxedmore

    The people who are questioning the use of drones – what don't those clowns understand about war? We are not dealing with petty criminals. The military's job is to kill the enemy, not coddle them and worry about their rights. What about the rights of the 3000 that died on 9/11?

    April 28, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  70. guest

    Let's show a little faith in our military for once. In the future expect to see a lot more un manned weaponry...ships, larger planes, etc. Technology will take us there whether we like it or not...and it will eventually take other countries (friend and foe) there too whether we like it or not. No sense in debating it. It reminds me of the stem cell debate...while we debated it, other countries exploited our paralysis. Let's make sure we stay more advanced than anyone else.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  71. DAN

    WE ARE AT WAR YOU IDIOTS. DRONES WORK, IS THAT WHY "YOU" DON'T LIKE THEM? I WOULD RATHER KILL OUR FOE ONE BY ONE INTO THE THOUSANDS BEFORE I'D LET EVEN ONE OF OUR SOLDIERS GET A SCRATCH!!!!!!!!1

    April 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Jason

    These F'n people are idiots. I know in theory it is a good idea to follow the rules da da da. But everyone of our guys are tortured and killed wrongfully! It makes me red in the face that we have such a moronic society that thinks just because we are 'just' everyone else will be. Well guess what, justice is practiced in the whole freaking devoloped world but that still hasn't changed what those animals are doing. They have killed eachother and others in their history, they are killing now, and they will kill in the future and no amount of reserve is going to change their cruelty, beliefs, or system.

    --TO HAVE RULES WHICH ONLY YOU FOLLOW UNECCESARILY RISKS AMERICAN LIVE AND LEAVES YOU AT A DISADVANTAGE.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  73. slozomby

    also we should be clear. these are no unmanned vehilcles. the driver just happens to be halfway around the world.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  74. schoolsub

    Does anyone out there know how much plutonium a B-52 can haul?

    April 28, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  75. slozomby

    we should definatly give up on the predators and go back to the old method of flying a few b52's overhead and dropping a few dozen tons of munition on a target.

    there will be far less complaints about collateral damage as there will be noone left to complain.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  76. iam already signed in, is CNN just playing stupid?

    what kind of bs is this. you either kill the enemy (as you identify them) or you don't. If they are not your enemy then you don't send them a love note in the form of death. That's what killing an adversary is about. I hate the constant reference to drones, these are not DRONES, skilled combat operators send them to complete a mission/task. The alternative, is a seal/recon/larp/sniper team, which while it may seem elegant, is simply substituting one combat operative for another. The end game is the end-game. PO and let the professionals complete there assignments.

    PS: of all the idiotic url/sites, CNN is beginning to demonstrate why we shouldn't be searching for intelligent life forms off planet.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  77. SDG

    45 to 51... 29 this year! oh, that's a sharp rise!

    April 28, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  78. swivel63

    does this idiot know that many of those CIA operatives are ex military?

    April 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  79. schoolsup

    Ms. O'Connell needs to shut her pie hole. "My country, right or wrong!" One does not speak ill of one's country in time of war. That's called sedition.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Dan

    WRITING IN ALL CAPS MAKES MY OPINION ON THIS TOPIC MORE VALID. HOW WILL PEOPLE UNDERSTAND ALL THOSE TINY LETTERS EVERYONE ELSE USES?

    April 28, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  81. sean

    Bullets are also unmanned. An operator pulls a trigger, then the bullet flies (all on its own) hundreds of yards before killing the target. Isn't this conceptually the same?

    April 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Road

    B.S. thier are no Rules in war anybody that says there are.. has never been in a fight or a war so need to shut up...if you want to bring up the Rules them it becomes a game and my son is not risking his life for a game...besides both parties have to agree on the rules and do any of you think fo one second any of them would abide by those rules you need to come out of your holes and take a look at reality

    April 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Patrick

    @Ramkhelawan "ILLEGALITY cannot be fought by LEGAL MEANS" I rarely name call but are you an absolute f**** idiot? I don't think I've read anything dumber all day. I also rarely use all caps but I will since you started it. What do police do? What are economic sanctions for? What are wars for? All are legal ways of fighting illegal action. All humans have rights. When ours our violated, we do what is necessary to defend them within the law both domestic and international. Laws are contracts between humans which allow for some minor sacrifice in freedom for some larger gain of security (or some other benefit). CIVILIAN cia agents flying drones killing poeople in a WAR scenario is not legal. US ARMED FORCES members flying drones killing people in a WAR scenario is legal...because they are "at war." See the connection? I know you won't understand this but I will try and make a scenario where your bias will not be in the way. Imagine canada and mexico at war....any canadian citizen can not just go down and kill any mexican citizen. NOT HOW IT WOKS. If we allow our citizens to do it, then we are terrorists. Just like when some Iranian citizen blows a hole in one of our boats, it doesn't mean the whole nation of Iran is declaring war on us. Ok now do you see the difference? Individual + Violence = terrorism. Armed Forces (controlled by a nation) + violence = WAR. Ok, there you go....now go blame Obama for something.

    April 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Road

    Do you suppose these idiot politicians care about the War in afganastan for any other reason other than political gain..my kid is over there and i told him i don't give a shit what they say you use any and all means to kill these people and to come home safe they should of dealt with them thier selves but since they couldn't my son is over there helping them doit...i'm beginning to wonder if these folks that are having this meeting care about my son?? we need to arrest them for treason....

    April 28, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Jack

    India can never be the friend of US. History speaks for itself. It will keep US busy fighting India's war of hate, racism and hippocracy and lies. While US keeps using drones, India will keep pumping terrorist via Afghanistan to keep a good supply and keep the drones busy. India has not only wasted US money with false guidance but also sucked US jobs from the ordinary Americans. Who are the opportunists trying to fool. The ordinary American public will not be fooled any more.

    April 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  86. patriot

    To all of those thinking of the legal issues of war, i encourage you to pick up a rifle and face your enemies eye to eye. If you do not have the guts for this continue to stick you head in the sand, and let the people who have volunteered to protect this nation do there job. It is suprising that the only country concerned with the rules of war are the ones trying to make this planet a better place. If you do not support what america has to do learn to speak arabic and move out. Its time to wave the colors high and defend what we have built with all means necessary

    April 28, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • A dude

      I think it's ironic how you encourage us to "face our enemies eye to eye" when that's the exact opposite of what drone operators are doing... just sayin'.

      June 5, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  87. Dave

    I would think that the American people would recognize this story for what it is, an attempt to use propoganda to turn the public against the war. If the fight is equal then your tactics suck, these people have an agenda, killing us or whoever is conveinient with their suicide bombers. They started it, don't cry now. The people of that region should be mad at Bin Loser instead of the USA. He started all of this to rid the Muslim land of non believers, When in fact, there is a greater precence now than ever before. Evidently he is not a student of history.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Ramkhelawan Maniram

    It's tit for tat. Was there LEGALITY in the killings of THREE THOUSAND AND MORE innocent human beings as if they were worms on 9/11. DRONES are a pain in the neck for the terrorists in their hideouts. DRONES are getting the results faster and better than any other means of cambat that has been in use up to now. ILLEGALITY cannot be fought by LEGAL MEANS. When the president of the united states of America swears the oath .... TO PRESERVE..... TO PROECT.....AND TO DEFEND.....THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, we do expect him to do WHATEVER it takes to accomplish the task, and if DRONES are keeping the terrorists on the run, and if they are not legal up to now, legalize them immediately or are we to wait for the SEARS TOWERS in Chicago to go down. Since the advent of DRONES in the operation theathres of war in the area, human beings run lesser risks and the turnover is greater, then what's the big deal, get our people out of harm's way and GIVE THEM ALL THE DRONES THAT ARE AVAILABLE.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt Daunis

      Amen!

      July 19, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  89. Hound Dog

    Not at all a smart strategy. Other countries will be encouraged to follow. It is illegal, no doubt. Eventually it could backfire. Other nations will be tempted to venture into it especially Russia, China, Cuba or Japan etc. It could become a free for all virtual game.
    Something to be aware and vigilant about. It is important to look at the future.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  90. go for it

    I fully agree with the drone attacks. They are effective and put our people at a safe distance from the those who want us to crawl ito the same cave in which they live. as a counterpoint, though, it should be noted that when the Israelis were killing their Hamas enemies with hlicopter attacks they were roundly assailed by the etire world, including the US, for illegal "targeted assasinations."

    April 28, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Daniel-2

    All this obscene butchery by these ungodly airplanes should never be legal.The International War Crimes Tribunal needs to outlaw them as both "militants" and civilians are being slaughtered needlessly.What I find most sickening is having mean-spirited people applauding the use of them.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      How do you stand on the 'obscene butchery' caused by planting IED's?

      June 4, 2010 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  92. Barbara Benjamin

    The use of drones saves American troops-the CIA has intelligence reports that enable them to make precise hits. Bin Laden will be eventually targeted and killed by one of these incredible drones-GOD BLESS THE CIA, GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERY DRONE

    April 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Big Dog

    We are @ WAR!!! No excuse needed, no checking to see if it's "legal". Was 9/11 legal?? I don't think so.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • A dude

      Ah, I get it. Because a handful of terroists flew into the WTC, we'll just kill everyone we don't like with impunity. Maybe America should hijack some planes to level the playing field.

      June 5, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  94. Bob

    Smith in Oregon has a legitimate concern. It's only the the tip of the iceberg. They have now done sufficient target practice in other countries.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Smith in Oregon

    Obviously the CIA and the Airforce are entirely invested in Remote Controlled Lethal Vehicles and any discussion in the US Congress is a waste of taxpayer dollars and time best spent on other pressing domestic issues.

    However down the road, American's will need to add their voices against having Reaper and Predator drones paroling the once friendly skys over many of America's metro-citys.

    For many months residents in North Carolina have spotted Predator drone flights over their State. A propaganda government information release stated the Predator flights were following a motorcycle gang in that region. Yeah sure, like that would trigger such hard core firepower and equipment flying over the roofs of law abiding America citizens.

    Apparently a nefarious plan hatched by Bush-Cheney would have flooded America's once friendly skys with Predator and Reaper drones, first patrolling the extensive American-Mexican border to gain America's approval before moving to what they really wanted to do with parking those Hellfire Drones above America's metro-citys coast to coast.

    When enacted, it would only be a matter of time before innocent American citizens were 'accidentally' murdered by one of those drones unless Democratic lawmakers stood up on behalf of law abiding American citizens to outlaw and entirely ban such invasive military hardware to roam over America's citys.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • A dude

      I completely agree. A lot of supporters of drones may have their justifications now, while we're fighting the war on terror, but fail to see the future implications of a technology that will get out of hand.

      June 5, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  96. Chacha

    Mr Manmohan Lal ... stop eating the Cow Dung !! Its clouding your judgement !

    April 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Chuckster

    @Joe, I absolutely love people like Joe who have no idea what they are talking about.
    The Drone War is winning and it does kill alot of scum terrorists. Before they are torched Military and CIA Intelligence makes sure they are who they are by tracking them from inception to torch time. We have made some very important kills against terrorists using this tool. DON'T STOP WE ARE WINNING AND NEED TO KILL ALL THOSE TERRORIST BASTARDS!!!! Joe, if you are worried so much about this action, why not take a trip to Afganistan or Yemen or Pakistan, and see how long you would last on the street as an American. All three of these countries are considered Terrorist Havens!!!

    April 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • A dude

      I can't wait for the day when our enemies get this technology. It'll be the Cold War all over again.

      June 5, 2010 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  98. Manmohan Lal

    Cant wait for the day when India also starts drone attacking on Pakistani occupied Kashmiri bases on the model of USA.

    Same way as the:

    USA aid that Pakistanis accepts in return for allowing the USA to attack them,

    India will release water to Pakistan from the dams we are bulding and in return we will demand to be allowed to launch drone attacks in Pakistan occupied kashmir.

    Otherwise India will store all the waters in damns she is bullding and starve Pakistan and make her barren. All plans are in place.

    After Pakistan, India will go after Afghanistan. The dream of Maha Bharat is becoming a reality with each passing day. Jai hind..

    April 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  99. joe

    Every person killed by the US in afghanistan , pakistan or yemen dies wrongly. Afghanistan has done nothing to the US. The 9/11 rats were mainly saudi.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ybs

      We are not in there to kill Afghans. We are in there for one thing - Osama bin's head.

      The Taliban harbored Osama bin. They made a mistake. The only way they could maintain power is to hand over Osama bin's head on a platter - they know that. Until then, we'll sock it to them (the deaths of their families are collateral damages).

      They are feeling the heat! Kill them with drones!

      September 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
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