California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Drone strike ethics should be thoroughly reviewed

A leaked memo from the United States Justice Department revealed that President Barack Obama has  allowed drone strikes on U.S. citizens overseas who have been proven to be terrorist threats.

Drones are unmanned aircrafts that hit targets with missiles.

The use of drone strikes is a controversial topic because it contains practical, ethical and legal issues.

In researching drone strikes, I deemed the practicality of their use the most important issue.

If the United States starts to frequently use drone strikes, who says another country will not follow suit?

If all countries enable drone strikes, we’re all just looking up at the sky in fear. I might be overreacting and stretching the possibilities, but I feel we need to ask ourselves these types of questions.

The U.S. military has acknowledged drone attacks in the countries of Yemen and Somalia, according to the War Powers Resolution report sent to Congress in December 2011.

I think it is very important to discuss this issue because while these attacks do target members of terrorist organizations, innocent civilians are sometimes put in danger.

A study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law reports that there is significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.

“One of the possible consequences that a number people fear is that because these are imprecise, they therefore raise tremendous hostility against the United States. Do you wind up killing one militant and unintentionally create more? Because there may have been people not involved here who might have had their relative accidentally killed, and now they decided to become enemies themselves,” said Paul Hanson, history professor at CLU.

There seems to be too much room for error. Drone strikes could create further problems during the process of trying to fix other problems.

Until drone technology can become more efficient, I do not believe it should be considered adequate for use in modern warfare.

Junior  Mike Frieda believes it’s important to consider the entirety of damage caused by drone attacks.

“While it does put military lives at ease, it also puts civilians at risk. This is generally when we tend to cause most collateral damage, because when we are striking a densely populated area, we are doing damage to their infrastructure. This also damages our foreign image,” said Frieda.

Senior Jon Omokawa believes that drones may save U.S. military troops.

“I have many friends who are military personnel, some who are behind enemy lines, and if a drone can save their life, I would support it,” said Omokawa.

The discussion of drone strikes will never come to a close until a line can be drawn on the ethics of it all.

“Certainly it would be good to have the Supreme Court make some rulings on these things. I think there is a fair amount of ambiguity on that,” said Hanson. “It has always been a difficult issue to balance and this provides a good potential test case to seek out the proper limits here.”

Overall, there are far too many factors to consider when discussing drone strikes.

There are many important questions to be answered, not only about the efficiency of the drones, but also about the ethics that come into play as well.

I believe drone strikes should not be an option until thoroughly reviewed.


Louie DeMetre
Staff Writer
Published Feb. 27, 2013

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