Obama on drones

So President Obama has made his drones speech (full text of speech here) and the analysis and reaction has begun. Much of it is pretty predictable and makes some of the usual mistakes.
First up, UAVs may be pretty new but the questions they raise are not. Our focus should not be on the technology but the way in which it is being used. My concern would be the same if it were a piloted F-16 launching missiles to kill unknown, suspected militants outside a war zone and in secret.
I always love how critics of drone strikes suggest George W Bush launched them with a swagger while Obama anguishes over every decision. The statistics suggest Obama doesn’t anguish for long.
And, at least in Pakistan, the number of civilians killed is pretty small. It’s difficult to know for certain, but people who tell you that hundreds of civilians are dying are rather exaggerating.
I’m no fan of drones, and I’m not sure Obama’s speech reassures me much, but I think the opponents are making some of the wrong arguments.
Here are some of the pieces I’ve been reading this morning:

Obama’s Speech on Drones and Guantanamo: A Challenge to an Endless War : The New Yorker

A young Yemeni writer on the impact and morality of drone-bombing his country | Glenn Greenwald

Finally, Obama Breaks His Silence on Drones | Brookings Institution

Drones: Myths And Reality In Pakistan – International Crisis Group

China Has Drones. Now What? | Foreign Affairs


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