Published On: Thu, Jun 26th, 2014

New report: US drone use ‘interferes’ with other nations’ sovereignty, causes ‘conflicts’

Drone technology may be one of the most effective means of modern warfare according the Pentagon and Obama administration, but a new report says the program destabilizes battlefields, governments and even American democracy.

Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile 2010 photo Brigadier Lance Mans, Deputy Director, NATO Special Operations Coordination Centre

Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile 2010 photo Brigadier Lance Mans, Deputy Director, NATO Special Operations Coordination Centre

Former U.S. military officials, part of the think tank at  the Stimson Center stated in the report “surveyed the Obama administration’s use of drones and concluded that while they can be a powerful and effective force in wars, they can also interfere with the sovereignty of other nations and cause unnecessary conflict abroad.”

The report also suggested that the Obama administration’s secrecy surrounding U.S. drone programs is to blame for the public’s “current misconceptions and fears about the aircraft,” which they called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The Stimson report comes more than a year after President Barack Obama promised to curtail and increase accountability on the use of drones during a speech at National Defense University.

“We are concerned that the Obama administration’s heavy reliance on targeted killings as a pillar of U.S. counterterrorism strategy rests on questionable assumptions, and risks increasing instability and escalating conflicts,” the 80-page report said.

Retired Gen. John Abizaid, former head of the U.S. Military Central Command and co-author of the report, said that drones could be an effective tool in fighting wars and that much of the fear about them comes from misperceptions rather than actual threats.

“While we do not believe that UAV strikes cause disproportionate civilian casualties or turn killing into a ‘video-game,’ we are concerned that the availability of lethal UAV technologies has enabled U.S. policies that likely would not have been adopted in the absence of UAVs,” the authors said.

One of the biggest problems, according to the report, is the potential for U.S. drone use to destabilize legal and moral norms worldwide. The authors warned that if the U.S. endorses using drone strikes without the consent of foreign governments, the country risks creating a kind of moral and legal domino effect that could spur other countries to use drones in legally questionable ways.

“From the perspective of many around the world, the United States currently appears to claim, in effect, the legal right to kill any person it determines is a member of Al-Qaeda or its associated forces, in any state on Earth, at any time, based on secret criteria and secret evidence … and with no means for anyone outside that process to identify or remedy mistakes or abuses,” the report said. “U.S. practices set a dangerous precedent that may be seized upon by other states — not all of which are likely to behave as scrupulously as U.S. officials.”

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Caitlin Hayden, declined to comment on the specifics of the report but said the administration complies with U.S. and international law.

The administration, she added, “is exploring ways we can provide more information about the United States’ use of force in counterterrorism operations outside areas of active hostilities, including information that provides the American people with a better understanding of U.S. assessments of civilian casualties.”
Robot fly spy drone

Robot fly spy drone

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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