Why Do We Scrutinize Drone Strikes More Than Manned Airstrikes?

Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:00am

Walter Pincus looks at the different levels of scrutiny applied to targeted strikes by manned and unmanned aircraft.  

“[O]ver a 24-hour period ended last Friday morning, U.S.-led coalition aircraft carried out 11 air strikes in northern Syria using manned and remotely piloted aircraft (drones) against Islamic State terrorists… Those 11 Syrian strikes in one day were more than double the five CIA drone strikes in Pakistan this year. If confirmed, the 52 alleged civilian deaths in Syria from those manned and unmanned air attacks represent a far larger number of civilian casualties than the two non-combatants reported as killed this year in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan.”  

“Is the underlying concern about drones based on the secrecy that surrounds CIA involvement, or is it the idea that armed drones are unmanned — and that no American is directly in harm’s way as weapons are dropped on a target?”