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Drones and the Future of Armed ConflictEthical, Legal, and Strategic Implications$
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David Cortright, Rachel Fairhurst, and Kristen Wall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226258058

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226258195.001.0001

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The Strategic Implications of Targeted Drone Strikes for US Global Counterterrorism

The Strategic Implications of Targeted Drone Strikes for US Global Counterterrorism

(p.99) Chapter Seven The Strategic Implications of Targeted Drone Strikes for US Global Counterterrorism
Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict

Audrey Kurth Cronin

University of Chicago Press

This chapter reviews the strategic logic of US counterterrorism objectives and examines whether drone strikes ‘work’ as an effective counterterrorism security policy. The focus is on the use of drone strikes to target suspected terrorists. The author examines whether the use of drone weapons achieves the stated purposes of defeating al-Qaeda, deflecting terrorist violence away from the United States, and protecting the safety of the American people. While American citizens believe that the use of drone weapons abroad makes them safer at home, the available evidence raises questions about the strategic value of using these weapons. The author finds no evidence that international terrorist threats can be defeated through such means, despite their effectiveness in degrading tactical al-Qaeda operations. In contrast, there is a risk of drone strikes fuelling anti-American sentiment in targeted countries, potentially incentivizing recruitment to violent extremist organizations.

Keywords:   counter terrorism, security strategy, tactics, targeted killing, Al-Qaeda, public opinion

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