Cambridge, MA, United States (4E) – National Security Adviser Tom Donilon on Wednesday defended the use of armed drones against terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen during a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Donilon said the U.S. has the right to take action against terrorists and the use of drones still results in less casualty than when a broader military attack is used against Al Qaeda militants. The statement was in answer to a question by a Pakistani student as to why armed drones are being used.
Donilon’s statement also came about a month after United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights Ben Emmerson announced in a conference at the Harvard Law School that the UN Human Rights Council will form early next year a unit that will investigate drone attacks that also caused civilian deaths.
In January, U.S. President Barack Obama defended the use of unmanned drone aircraft to kill suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Answering an online question about U.S. drone strikes during a social media engagement on Google+, Obama said using drones to target Al Qaeda militants hiding in very tough terrain along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is less intrusive than conventional military action. Obama also denied that drone strikes caused a huge number of civilian casualties.