Drones in U.S. Warfare

Thesis:

The U.S. should continue drone strikes abroad Drones have plenty of benefits. Drones more accuracy, keep U.S. personnel safer, are cheaper, and are a great advancement in warfare technology. The U.S. began drone strikes after the 9/11 attacks. These drone strikes have helped kill terrorists and militants plotting against the U.S.A.

Arguments:

Drones have more accuracy. U.S. military personnel are safer. Drones are much cheaper than other aerial combat. The U.S. is not the only country using drones as weapons. Argument 1: Drones have more accuracy than most warfare weapons. Drones kill fewer civilians and more militants than any other military weapon. Compared to other military weapons, drones kill fewer civilians compared to the total amount of people killed. These statistics come from the drone strikes in Pakistan through the year 2011. Of course in a perfect world, there would be no civilians and innocent men, women, and children killed but if we want to kill militants who are plotting to harm U.S. citizens, we have to use the safest way for the U.S. military to kill these terrorists. In his article, William Saletan mentions facts from other wars, without drones, stating, “In World War II, civilian deaths, as a percentage of total war fatalities, were estimated at 40 to 67 percent. In Korea, they were reckoned at 70 percent. In Vietnam, by some calculations, one civilian died for every two enemy combatants we exterminated. (11) https://www.lawfareblog.com/meta-study-drone-strike-casualties

One of Pakistan’s most wanted, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed by a drone strike. Mehsud was the Pakistani taliban chief, and had attempted to bomb Times Square in 2010 and killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan in 2009. He terrorized not only the U.S. but also Pakistani citizens. He constantly moved in fear of getting caught and a U.S. drone strike was able to kill and stop him. Without these drone strike he could still be alive. Drones scare even the most feared terrorists and have been able to kill thousands of militants. It has been said that drones are a “terrifying presence to the people who are being targeted. (10) (4) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-drone-hakimullah/pakistani-taliban-chief-killed-in-drone-strike-idUSBRE9A00QY20131101

Looking at the statistics, you can see that if the maximum of people killed is 11,880 and the maximum of civilians and children killed is 2,021 that means that the maximum amount of militants and members of terrorist groups killed is nearing 10,000. These statistics represent the total amount of drone strikes of Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan. https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/projects/drone-war https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fag9T12UK_w 23:17-24:09 Argument 2: Drone strikes keep the U.S. military safer.

Drones are operated by pilots based in the United States, while the drones are launched at military bases in other countries. This minimizes risks that “on the ground soldiers and aircraft pilots face. Snipers, land mines, dangerous flying weather, etc. are all avoided through drones. In a speech about his drone strikes Obama says, “Even when such an approach may be possible, there are places where it would pose profound risks to our troops and local civilians where a terrorist compound cannot be breached without triggering a firefight with surrounding tribal communities, for example, that pose no threat to us; times when putting U.S. boots on the ground may trigger a major international crisis (9) https://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/01/15/air-force-doubles-extra-pay-for-drone-pilots-to-1500-per-month.html

Though most people would believe that drone pilots have no risk of PTSD because they are not actually out in the field, that is very wrong. Flying drones can take an emotional and stressful toll on the pilots. However, they are at a 4% high risk of having PTSD while returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are at a 12%-14% high risk of PTSD https://www.slideserve.com/varana/wayne-chappelle-psy-d-abpp-kent-mcdonald-col-usaf-mc-fs-neuropsychiatry-branch-usaf-school-of-aerospace-medicine Argument 3: Drones are cheaper than most manned aircrafts

This specific drone is called a Predator Drone. It’s average cost per flight hour is $3,679. The most expensive drone is $49,089. Manned aircrafts can cost an upwards of $169,00, about 40 times that of the predator. (1) http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/

According to this graph, only one USAF Aircraft is cheaper than the drones. The most expensive drones is not even half the price of the most expensive manned aircraft. https://www.auvsi.org/are-uas-more-cost-effective-manned-flights Argument 4: The U.S. is not the only country using drones. If we stop our drone attacks, we are in danger of falling behind in new military technology.

According to this graph, a lot of other countries have armed drones. Countries that have armed drones include Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan. In all of these countries that have drones, they can be attack or surveillance drones, which each pose a threat to the U.S. https://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_a_european_approach_to_military_drones_and_artificial_intelligence

After working with the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Tom Lockhart recounts the countless times that they saw drones overhead spying on what they were doing. They are now working on ways to disarm and destroy small drones from afar. This was filmed in 2018. 1:19-1:32 https://taskandpurpose.com/taliban-drone-surveillance-afghanistan/

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