Obama’s Counter Terrorism Advisor Defends Drone Strikes
President Barack Obama’s top counter terrorism advisor defended the use of drones to launch missile attacks against targets in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He said that the use of unmanned aircraft has saved lives and caused few civilian casualties.
John Brennan made the comments just before the first anniversary of the successful US Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. This was also the first time that a senior White House official talked publicly about the secret drone operations.
Obama administration’s use of drones has stirred controversy across the globe. Last Sunday, unmanned aircraft killed three suspected militants in northern Pakistan. Some people criticized the use of drones because of accusations that they led to the death or injury of hundreds of civilians in the past 3 years.
Brennan spoke at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He stated that civilian casualties from US drones were very rare and were thoroughly investigated. These were taken seriously and the authorities review the actions of the drones when it happens.
Brennan added that drones decreased the risks for pilots and crews. It also curbed accidental casualties and aided in preventing the ground troops into further conflicts. He answered the critics who have demanded information on how the officials decide on the targets of the drone attacks and how many civilians were accidentally killed during the attacks.
The counter terrorism advisor said that the individual must be deemed by US intelligence to be actively involved in plotting against American forces, facilities or other targets. The decision to fire on the targets is made after careful thoughts.
He didn’t say who were in charge of making the decisions or the evidence presented against the targets. In past drone attacks, four American citizens were killed, which include militant Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, two other American al Qaeda supporters, and Awlaki’s teenage son, who was killed in a strike weeks after his father’s demise.