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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 50 th 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.

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