Senate Debate: Are Drone Attacks Creating More Enemies than They Kill?

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Farea al-Muslimi (photo: Cliff Owen, AP)

Formulated on the pretext that it would make the nation safer from foreign terrorists, the U.S. drone campaign has had the unintended effect of driving overseas populations into the hands of al-Qaeda, senators on Capitol Hill were told this week.


An activist from Yemen warned lawmakers at a Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing that drone strikes have terrorized local residents and turned them against the United States.


“They fear that their home or a neighbor’s home could be bombed at any time by a U.S. drone,” explained Farea al-Muslimi, the son of a farmer, who, supported by the State Department, studied in the U.S. as a high school exchange student.  “I went to the U.S. as an ambassador for Yemen,” he testified before the panel, “and I came back to Yemen as an ambassador for the U.S.”   


Six days before his testimony, his village was struck by a drone attack aimed at a militant al-Muslimi said could easily have been arrested. “What a violent militant had previously failed to achieve, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: There is now an intense anger against America.”


The bipartisan Senate hearing, titled “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killings,” was the first time that testimony was provided by the resident of a town where it is believed that U.S. drone strikes have killed innocent civilians. Absent from the witness line-up was any member of the Obama administration, much to the frustration of senators from both parties.


Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), who chaired the hearing, said current laws sanctioning drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia should be reviewed by Congress.


“The use of drones has, in stark terms, made targeted killing more efficient and less costly—in terms of American blood and treasure,” Durbin said. “There are, however, long-term consequences, especially when these airstrikes kill innocent civilians.”


Residents of his Yemeni village are now gripped with “psychological fear and terror,” said al-Muslimi. “The drone strikes are the face of America to many.” 

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Drones Cause ‘Growing Hatred of America,’ Bipartisan Senate Panel Told (by Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post)

Yemeni Tells Senators about ‘Fear and Terror’ Caused by U.S. Drones (by Spencer Ackerman, Wired)

Obama Using Drones to Kill Others besides al-Qaeda despite Public Statements (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Third U.S. Citizen Killed by Obama’s Yemen Drone Strikes was a 16-Year-Old Boy (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Civilians Account for One-Third of Drone Attack Deaths in Pakistan  (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)      


Unaccountable Drones 11 years ago
The Two links you need to learn more about the catastrophe that is Drone Strikes.

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