“These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney as he solemnly spoke of President Obama’s use of drone warfare.
Carney cited careful consideration of the government, the President’s responsibility, and anti-terrorism as ethical grounds for the use of drones, saying, “ (The) President takes his responsibilities very seriously, and first and foremost, that’s his responsibility, to protect the United States and American citizens,” and “We have acknowledged, the United States, that sometimes we use remotely piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific al Qaeda terrorists in order to prevent attacks on the United States and to save American lives.”
However, the responsibility of the Obama Administration’s use of drone warfare is dubious, as is the use of drones altogether. Only 2% of casualties from drone strikes have been targets, the rest untargeted militants and, most importantly, innocent men, women, and children.
Second, these strikes do not only occur in caves dug out by terrorists in the Middle Eastern mountains, but in cities and towns, where children are sure to be a significant externality. Innocent civilian casualties could number higher than 300 in Pakistan, 150 in Yemen, and smaller numbers elsewhere. However, as many as 400 are unknown as to whether or not they were untargeted militants or innocent civilians. The vast majority of the casualties are untargeted militants. Some sources note higher civilian casualties.