Drone use: Effective terrorism deterrent or slippery slope?
The national divide over U.S. use of drone aircraft in targeted strikes in war-torn areas around the world was well illustrated in two comments from readers under the Overdrive Online poll, conducted over the course of August and September. “Send more drones, bring more troops home!” exclaimed one, giving voice to perhaps the No. 1 reason the U.S. government has come to rely on drones for terrorism-related actions overseas: keeping American troops out of harm’s way after a decade and more of on-the-ground combat.
A view of drone use as waging war with no skin in the game, however, characterized the second comment, framed as a question: “So what happens when the other side starts using drones in this country?” The reasoning behind such questions: The pilot-less aircraft’s employment in military strikes by the world’s greatest power has legitimized their future use in combat. Are drone nonproliferation treaties in our future?
By and large, readers supported use in limited terms, with restriction on use when troops are in harm’s way. Noted Billy Fannin, commenting on Overdrive’s Facebook page, “There’s nothing wrong with it in combat. When our boys in uniform are in harm’s way, we will take any advantage we can get.”
Nearly everyone drew the line at U.S. borders, with worry of homeland spying use in the future: “Very slippery slope,” said Jason Vanderwarf. “Americans should not be spied on.”