The month of August was a tumultuous time, as the United States pulled troops out of Afghanistan for the first time in almost 20 years. This created a cascade of conflict between the countries when the terroristic Taliban suddenly took control of the Afghani government. Many Americans were trapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban. The U.S. military worked to evacuate all American citizens from Kabul, the Afghani capital. However, in response, the U.S. also employed airstrikes.
In the last decade, drone strikes have been an incredibly controversial tool used by the United States, and for a good reason. Drone strikes are direct human rights violations. On August 30, a U.S. airstrike killed ten innocent members of a family, seven of them children. This is not the first time U.S. drone strikes have killed innocent civilians. Investigations from New America and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that civilians made up 7.27% and 15.47% of American drone strikes in the Middle East from 2009-2016.
This directly violates International law on human rights. Article three of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Humanity establishes that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person. These drone strikes directly take life and security from innocent people.
Drone strikes are also an apparent war crime. Article eight, paragraph four, section B of the Geneva Conventions state that “Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread” is a war crime. The U.S. government knows the risk to civilians and still intentionally launches drone strikes. With this description, that is a war crime.
Worst of all, drone strikes are not even practical. Responses to drone strikes are not positive. Terrorists take revenge on civilians that they can easily reach. The victims of these attacks also consider the drone strikes responsible for their abuse. Fear also drives civilians and terrorists together, which is not effective counter-terrorism. The public outrage and fear that drone strikes cause only fuel terrorists.
Diplomacy is always the best answer. However, if peace is not possible, drone strikes are not the answer. Drone strikes do not deter terrorists. Instead, they are war crimes that violate civilian rights. Therefore, the U.S. should discontinue the use of drone strikes in favor of less destructive options.