As mentioned earlier, innocent men women and even children have become victim of these strikes. It was believed that in between 2004 and 2009, there have been a total of 344 strikes done. This number of strikes was under President Bush. Following that, under President Obama's presidency there were a total of 292 air strikes till 2012. It is quite obvious that the numbers have increased after President Obama came into power. This number of air strikes is not what it really is. The numbers have been cut down not only by the government of the United States but also the Pakistani government as well. The government under President Musharaff wished to hide many of the actual strikes that happened. (Priest, 2005) They mentioned it either as Pakistani military operations, accidental explosions or car bombs. A person on Musharaff's side reported saying that the President thought it would be less damaging to say that the Pakistani government caused the damage rather than saying that America caused the damage.
Drone Attack on June 10th 2006
A Drone attack was carried out on June 10th, 2006 on a worker's bunkhouse in a mining camp near the mountains of Datta Khel. There were a lot of innocent workers, miners and woodcutters asleep in that bunker. The drone attacks left 22 of the workers dead along with badly injuring four of the workers. In this scenario, which is a clear cut human rights issue, the press played a false role. The media described this incident as being a helicopter gunship attack from the military on Pakistan. For this incident, the Pakistani officials also claimed responsibility for this attack. (Pak tribune, 2006) the research team that was investigating this issue went on to see that what sort of evidence was present. Unfortunately, when the attack took place, the survivors were sleeping and were knocked unconscious after the attack occurred. However, no physical evidence of a helicopter strike could be found. There was no eyewitness testimony and the location was quite remote for a helicopter strikes well. Thus it was ultimately declared that this attack was by far a drone attack.
Along with the United States possessing UAVs, there are many other countries that have the same weapons. The sale of these weapons is quite global thus any country can go on to have it. The White counterterrorism chief John Brennan declared that America is setting up very wrong examples. The precedents that the country is setting, other nations can follow them. Now, not all the nations who are learning or are getting inspired from these examples are the ones who have the best interests at heart. In simpler terms, their interests on protecting human life might not be as important as America's interest in protecting civilians. Thus this is a threat and a danger to human life and human rights because any country can use America as an example and a defensive argument and can use these drone attacks anywhere. The United States is defending its stance by stating it is an armed conflict against Al-Qaeda. There are terrorist groups present in almost every country and these groups go on to cause damage. However that doesn't give any country a right to start air warfare against the entire country at large. The United States is giving a chance for these governments to fight against 'certain groups' because they want to have an 'armed conflict' as well.
Drone Attacks: A national security Issue
The security for air strikes and the rules of taking them out have been tightened by the American lead forces so the amount of civilian damage is reduced. These strikes are quite efficient because they have video cameras that can gather intelligence for as long as 20 hours. Apart from gathering and transmitting information, these drones can strike without warning. The top air commander in Afghanistan, Major General Stephen Mueller stated that seeing how the tribal areas and Afghanistan has quite a mountainous terrain, these drones provide a good bird's eye view. (Drew, 2010) the personnel can look closely into the population and look into the smaller units. The military is using to make quite a clean and safe environment in the country. Thus, many think that the use of these weapons increase the national security and thus make a better and safer world for everyone.
Many would argue that the drone attacks that have been carried out in Afghanistan and are now quite popular in Pakistan are very effective in the war against terrorism. It is said that terrorism is basically a law enforcement issue as opposed to being a military matter. The reason why America is so keen on destroying these militants because they are a threat to not only America but to other areas as well. Therefore, this provides grounds and reasons for the United States to take action because it is neither interested not looking to conquer any land in Pakistan. Many argue that the level of fighting and aggressiveness that the drone attacks show against the militants have actually been effective. The response that the law enforcement agencies of the officials in Pakistan had given or in Afghanistan had given was neither adequate nor effective. Therefore, many argue that the strikes in it do not violate the sovereignty of the country. They do not violate the sovereignty because Pakistan is not able to fight of or prevent the al Qaeda fighters in hiding and planning more attacks from where they are. This is surely alarming and a very serious matter of national security.
Risks Al-Qaeda poses
The attack that was made on September 11th 2001 was planned and carried out by the same militant group. These people were present in the same area and they went on to carry such a huge scale attack on the Untied States. This killed and injured hundreds and thousands of civilians. Similar attacks by Al Qaeda have they been the reason of chaos in many other countries. Seeing how they pose a great threat for future attacks, they need to be combated.
Due to these reasons, the United States can fight them and use self-defense forces. This satisfies the need and the technique of them fighting off and combating the militants in these areas. It is true that al-Qaeda is quite capable of causing armed attacks. Many even argue that the CIA drone program is legal and allowed under the American law established for authorization of the use of military force. This act was passed after nine eleven along with the already present national security act of 1947. The Obama administration has not only backed up the drone attacks but also increased their frequency. This shows that the administration deems these attacks to comply with the international law.
A memo that was revealed from the justice department told about the arguments and defense that the United States presents for these drone attacks. The government gives guidelines and allows for the strikes to take place against its own citizens as well. This shows how much these drone attacks are required and seemed effective against the militants. This means that if there are any citizens of America abroad who are linked with the militant leaders and are engaged in operations, and then there would be drone attacks carried against them
Such attacks are even accepted and allowed to take place on U.S. citizens if they are a threat to attack other citizens. The memo also stated that they didn't even have to have information about a certain attack against the country. In other words, if the state department or the intelligence department has the slightest clue about anyone link to attacks, they can carry out an attack against them. (Al-Jazeera) it is true that al-Qaeda and people linked with al-Qaeda're continually coming up with plans against the United States. If there are group of people present who are continuing planning attacks, then surely they should be found out and they should be killed.
The people in al-Qaeda are very hard to locate and even if they are hard to locate, it is hard to capture them and interrogate them. Furthermore, Al-Qaeda is a very loosely connected network. This means that its workers, its people are spread apart in a vast terrain and they can be plotting from anywhere. The nation itself doesn't have many opportunities to go looking for these people and carrying out attacks against them. Therefore, it's true that they do not know where all the al Qaeda militants are at all times and when an attack is likely to take place. Thus the minute or the second they get to know about the location of an extremist or any attack, the drone attack is launched at that location. Therefore, the use of drone attack is quite fast, effective and quick. In this way, the terrorism war is better fought in the favor of national security of the country.