Unmanned drones are getting increasing use in combat operations. However, Lonnie McNair notes that their use as an anti-terrorism tool is a matter of debate. Some even question the drone program’s legality.
Fifteen Pakistani militants are reported dead after a suspected drone attack last Monday. The unmanned drone fired on a known militant compound in Mir Ali. The compound, located in the North Waziristan region is known to house the Haqqani Network. Haqqani is a group of militants who have attacked international personnel in nearby Afghanistan.
Unmanned drones present a way of carrying out attacks without endangering U.S. combatants and their allies. However, the secrecy with which these drone attacks are carried out worries some. Some have said that using unmanned drones violates countries’ sovereignty. This contrasts a public statement about drones, which said the attacks are “in full accordance with the law.”
Military experts such as Lonnie McNair observe that drone attacks are becoming more and more common in modern warfare. This may be due to the precise nature of such operations combined with minimal risk.
Monday’s attack is the most recent of twenty-one such attacks carried out this year. The CIA does not release information concerning the drone program. However, internal sources say that the program is legal. Its effectiveness in eliminating important targets may also contribute to increasing use.
Drone attacks are credited with the recent killing of two militants riding a motorcycle. Operations experts like Lonnie McNair note that the value of such precise attacks is immense. Though the technology still isn’t perfect.
John Brennan, a top counter-terrorism expert, condones the use of unmanned drones. He claims that the U.S. drone program “respects national sovereignty and international law.” He also says that the attacks adhere to what he calls the “laws of war.”
Tribal regions in the Middle East, such as North Waziristan are often U.S. targets. These regions are known to harbor terrorists and other militant groups such as the Haqqani Network. The drone program allows the U.S. to target terrorist groups without invading tribal regions.
However, this raises issues of sovereignty. Do anti-terrorism efforts trump international law and local government? The issue becomes especially tricky when we consider the history between Pakistan and the U.S. Pakistan has formerly sheltered terrorists and war criminals wanted by the U.S.
Drone attacks have undoubtedly been an asset to U.S. military operations. Does the effectiveness of the program justify its debatable affront to sovereignty?
Lonnie McNair is a season military veteran. He has held both combat and supervisory positions within the U.S. Military. His considerable experience makes him an astute expert on military operations.