The Real Drone Debate

Anish Goel
Content Type
Journal Article
Foreign Affairs
Issue Number
Publication Date
November/December 2013
Council on Foreign Relations
In their respective articles “Why Drones Work” and “Why Drones Fail” (July/August 2013), Daniel Byman and Audrey Kurth Cronin make arguments that are not mutually exclusive. Byman emphasizes that U.S. drone strikes have decimated al Qaeda's senior leadership; Cronin, that they have galvanized extremist recruiting and soured foreign public opinion of the United States. Both points are undoubtedly true, and to argue otherwise in either case would be to deny the basic realities of U.S. drone warfare. Both authors neglect to mention, however, that the use of drone strikes needs to be tempered by the domestic political realities in the countries where they are carried out. Only then can drone warfare achieve the benefits outlined by Byman while minimizing the drawbacks explained by Cronin.
Political Geography
United States