Study shows widespread global opposition to US drone attacks
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 13, 2012
Seventeen out of 20 countries polled mostly disapprove of U.S. drone strikes that attack and kill extremists, according to recent findings from the Pew Research Center.
Even long-time American allies like Britain, Germany and Japan have majorities that disapprove of the drone strikes, at 47, 59 and 75 percent, respectively.
The strike tactic is extremely unpopular in Muslim countries, where most of the bombings take place.
Egypt, Jordan and Turkey featured disapproval results between 81 and 89 percent.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia have blamed the U.S. for civilian casualties as a result of frequent drone missions. Those nations were not included in the sample size.
The U.S. was the only country with a positive percentage, at 62. More specifically, 74 percent of Republicans approve of the strikes, compared to 60 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats.
The Obama administration recently gave the CIA further permission to aggressively pursue enemies via drone strikes in Pakistan, according to a story in the L.A. Times.
The U.S. uses large drones that can carry 100- or 500-pound bombs, but also is developing smaller unmanned planes that can be used for battlefield reconnaissance. The 6-pound Switchblade drone is launched from a tube and can engage smaller targets without the larger risk of collateral damage.
Boeing recently ran a test flight for a drone at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., that can stay in flight for up to four days at a time.
The Pew Research study, available online, also gathered information on how the world perceives President Obama, the U.S. in general and China’s growing economic might, among other topics.