Pros and Cons of US Drone Strikes Abroad - Latest Research in Ongoing Debate

Nonpartisan Launches Its New Website on America's Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the War on Terror

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --, a nonpartisan research organization devoted to critical thinking on controversial topics, debuts its 50th issue website,, and delves deeply into the pros and cons of US drone strikes using the latest studies, perspectives, and facts.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones, are remotely-controlled aircraft which may be armed with missiles and bombs for attack missions. Since the World Trade Center attacks of Sep. 11, 2001 and the subsequent "War on Terror," the United States has used drones to kill suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries.

Proponents say that drones have decimated terrorist networks abroad via precise strikes with minimum civilian casualties. They contend that drones are relatively inexpensive weapons, are used under proper government oversight, and that their use helps prevent "boots on the ground" combat and makes America safer.

Opponents say that drone strikes create more terrorists than they kill. They contend that drone strikes kill large numbers of civilians, violate international law, lack sufficient congressional oversight, violate the sovereignty of other nations, and make the horrors of war appear as innocuous as a video game.

In response to the website's core question, "Should the United States continue its use of drone strikes abroad?," presents sourced pros and cons, a historical background section, videos, images, over 100 footnotes and sources, and Did You Know? facts including (sources available online):

* The first recorded use of attack drones occurred on Aug. 22, 1849 when the Habsburg Austrian Empire launched 200 pilotless balloons armed with bombs against the revolution-minded citizens of Venice.

* According to a July 18, 2013 Pew survey, 61% of Americans supported drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Support spanned the political divide, including Republicans (69%), independents (60%), and Democrats (59%).

* The first known targeted drone strike by the United States occurred on Feb. 4, 2002 in Afghanistan when a CIA Predator drone fired on a group they believed included Osama bin Laden. The targets, all killed, were civilians legally gathering scrap metal.

* The most common drone used for attack purposes, General Atomics' MQ-9 Reaper, has a range of 3,682 miles, an operational altitude of 50,000 ft, a maximum flight time of 27 hours, and a payload of 3,850 pounds – enough for up to 14 missiles.

* Civilians accounted for 8-17% of all deaths from US drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

For pros, cons, and related research on US drone strikes abroad, visit

About Us (online at is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity whose mission is promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship.  Information is presented on 50 different issue websites in subjects ranging from Obamacare, alternative energy, and medical marijuana to the death penalty, illegal immigration, and gay marriage. websites are free of charge and require no registration.  The websites have been cited dozens of times by the governments of 11 countries (including the United States where 27 states and nine federal agencies cite, and used by teachers, librarians, and educators in over 4,300 schools in all 50 US states and 60 countries. had over 16 million unique visitors in 2013 and more than 2.5 billion hits since its inception in 2004. has been referenced by mainstream media over 950 media times, including: 60 Minutes, ABC, Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, BBC, Bloomberg, Business Week, CBS News, CNN, CNBC, Contra Costa Times, Dallas Morning News, The Economist, Esquire, Forbes, FOX News, The Guardian, Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Mother Jones, NBC, New England Journal of Medicine, New York Times, The Oregonian, Orlando Sentinel, PBS, Reuters, Slate, USA Today, Washington Post, Wired, and many others.

For information about, visit and its social media profiles at






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