Just as the protests and riots triggered by the murder of George Freud shook the United States, the assassination continued to be carried out in our name around the world. Although there is little or no sign of success in countries such as Somalia, the trump administration has more firmly pursued a core tactic supported by politicians from both parties in the war on terrorism: the use of drones.
Since trump took office, it is estimated that 155 air and UAV strikes have been launched in Somalia. This is five times the number of similar attacks launched by Obama in his last term. In Yemen and Afghanistan, air and drone strikes have increased similarly, but the United States no longer publishes data on attacks. In most cases, the higher the frequency of drone strikes, the more civilian deaths.
The short-sighted American news media rarely report on the ongoing UAV war in the United States. This is exactly the original intention of this tactic. UAV warfare is no personal danger to soldiers and contractors operating UAVs in air-conditioned rooms thousands of miles away from the target. This is a war conducted by remote control and a killing made by computer algorithms.
Policymakers and politicians need not worry about terrible reports describing wounded or dead American soldiers. Nor will the public raise thorny questions about the significance of American military sacrifice. The media usually do not speak for people killed by drones in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries.
Whether the dead are militants or not, they will be declared militants and forgotten. Because there is no cost other than finance, remote control war has become a reliable means to combat militants and terrorists identified by the United States all over the world.
Reliance on drones – like the “war on terror” itself – is a tactic that lacks strategy and will only create more terrorists and militants. The center for strategic and international studies estimates that the number of militants supporting Salafi increased by nearly 400% from 2001 to 2018. This may still be an underestimate. In particular, the use of drones has helped the militant Salafi organization recruit troops in various Muslim countries.
During many visits to Yemen and the horn of Africa, government officials, community leaders and tribal elders have told the author that the use of drones by the United States – and the poorly planned war on terrorism by the United States – is the root cause of the popularity of various “Salafi” militant organizations. A tribal elder from Southern Yemen explained: “they (UAV operators) Look at us like animals in the zoo. They kill us if they want. If boys and young men think they are men, they will certainly do something to fight back and seek revenge. Therefore, many people will join those who promise to help them do it. “
Now, there are far more insurgents and terrorists in Yemen, Somalia and other countries where the United States is fighting against terrorism than before the beginning of this “permanent war”.
Most militant groups – including Al Shabaab – now have their own drones. Before long, even small militant organizations with insufficient training and funds will deploy UAVs or groups of UAVs capable of tracking and killing distant targets. In fact, the widespread existence of advanced “fly and forget” technology means that militants and terrorists do not need to put themselves in danger.
It is difficult to find even a country that has become more stable and the number of insurgents continues to decline because of U.S. policies. In almost all countries where U.S. troops are stationed, the opposite is true. However, neither Republicans nor Democrats have made a fundamental reflection on the “permanent war” of the United States and its dependence on armed drones.
In the theory of unmanned aerial vehicles, Gregor shamayu believes that unmanned aerial vehicles have changed the decision-making in war, “because the threshold for resorting to violence is greatly reduced, violence is often regarded as the default option of foreign policy”.
As Jean quintel showed in his book the wrong transformation, the counter insurgency work itself is full of problems and rarely succeeds. However, UAV centered counter-terrorism tactics are more problematic. Just as the media or the U.S. public rarely question the U.S. drone war, policymakers rarely ask themselves: does this work?
Editor in charge: PJ