Our Growing Drone Army

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 12 2012 @ 2:47pm

Drones now make up nearly a third of US military aircraft. David Cortright makes the case against their use. Benjamin Wittes and Ritika Singh push back

Cortright may argue that “terrorism is more a political and law enforcement challenge than a threat that can be addressed by military means,” but it is worth remembering that the opposite of targeted killing is not usually law enforcement. It is often less-targeted – that is, more indiscriminate – killing. The important flip side to Cortright’s anxiety that drones will lower our inhibition to go to war is that drones can also limit the scope and scale of military action. The United States is not going to take a hands-off approach to states like Pakistan and Yemen, where law enforcement is not a feasible option. Drone warfare permits a highly calibrated military response to situations in which the alternative may involve not lesser but far greater uses of military violence.