The United States has a problem unique to history’s greatest powers. Our wars are often too cheap. Air campaigns like the 2011 campaign in Libya, the ongoing one against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and the drone strikes that periodically target militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia sacrifice few if any American lives and spend the federal equivalent of loose change.
Before discussing drones’ underappreciated costs, it is worth noting the absence here of one charge often leveled against drones. That is the idea that they are especially prone to killing noncombatants. As the Drone Task Force Report released last year by the Stimson Center points out, drones are relatively precise compared to other long-range weapons. Their danger to civilians comes less from imprecision than by serving the myth that you have war without killing the innocent. Of course the Central Intelligence Agency and Joint Special Operations Command, which operates armed drones for the U.S. military, should minimize the number of innocent civilians that drone strikes kill. But the best way to protect civilians is to have fewer wars.
To read the full article click here.