On the use of drones, NYT’s Peter M. Singer (“Do Drones Undermine Democracy?”) makes the comprehensive argument that the use of drones goes against the how wars are meant to be fought—human participation. It can be counter argued that these automatons are better in terms of expendability; personnel are not easily replaced while drones are easily replaceable. The Bush 43 strategy relied more on men, and it did yielded adverse results politically. The switch to drones presented dynamic political benefits, for which Singer argued allowed for circumvention of aggravated/emotive discourse among members of the American populace, academics and mass media. It is imperative to remember that the cost of the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq—increases in casualties—was detrimental to the American credibility and brought about victory to Obama in 2008 elections.
The Obama Administration did maintain the policy of Bush 43 of using massive troops, such as the Afghan surge in 2009 but steadily reverted to the draconian measure of using drones. The arrivals of Hagel and Brennan, in agreement with VP Biden’s view, earlier this year made a better case for this change from counterinsurgency to counterterrorism (NYT’s “In Step on ‘Light Footprints’, Nominees Reflect A Shift”). This is where there is a departure from Bush 43. This is not to assert that the use of the aforementioned are unquestionably productive since they tend to produce ...
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...to draw conclusions that the policies of one administration are simple continued by the other. The problem is that the allegation is a generalization and the varying policies must be studied separately on their own merits as to whether they are related or not.
NB: I would like to state a couple of points on the CIA’s drone operations. The CIA is not limited by war zones and is sanctioned to conduct covert operations in any area that is considered significant. Moreover, the executive branch does not blatantly sanction CIA operations without pondering over the information presented to it. Also, there is a congressional oversight committee that sets parameters in which the organization can operate within; these are usually agreed behind closed doors or during classified sessions. This does not mean that all participants concerned do not make bad judgment calls seldom.
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