- Action Alert
- U.S. Wars & Militarism
Rally to #EndDroneWarfare Highlights Problems with CIA Program
On May 3, faith groups gathered in Edward R. Murrow Park in Washington, D.C. to demand an end to CIA drone strikes and a commitment from General Atomics, the company which builds the Predator and Reaper drones, not to develop lethal autonomous weapons systems.
CIA drone strikes are immoral, overly secretive, and ineffective as an instrument of counter-terrorism policy.
Drones have quickly become one of the primary U.S. counterterrorism weapons. Drones may remove U.S. troops from physical danger, but they are fraught with other moral risks. They lower the threshold for using lethal force, helping to keep the U.S. in a state of endless war.
Drone warfare is ineffective as a long-term policy. Where drones are used anti-American sentiment and retaliatory attacks increase. When communities associate the United States and the U.S. military with the destruction of their homes or the loss of their loved ones, they are more likely to be sympathetic to terrorist propaganda and recruitment.
Using drones to conduct airstrikes does not even remove U.S. soldiers entirely from harm’s way. Psychological trauma suffered by drone pilots has led to increased rates of occupational stress and suicidal thoughts.
The CIA’s drone program is particularly problematic, as it is largely secret. This prevents the U.S. public from knowing where and how their government is conducting lethal operations, and the true costs of war. Indeed, earlier this year the Trump administration revoked one of the few reporting requirements covering CIA strikes.
FCNL supports ending all drone warfare. We should start by ending the CIA program and transferring all drone strike authority to the Department of Defense, which has a record of greater transparency and accountability.
We must continue to curb excessive use of force in U.S. foreign policy and demand greater transparency. The CIA drone program furthers neither of those goals. Congress must act to end it.