Wilingness to intervene : a study on drones public opinion and the use of lethal action
Washburne, Samuel B.
Williams, Paul Andrew
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The U.S. military and the CIA have been using unmanned drone aircraft, in various ways, for the past two decades. The CIA began using armed drones in 2002 to wreak havoc on Al-Qaeda and its operatives, primarily in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia. However, the CIA’s targeted drone killing program was kept officially secret until President Obama admitted, indirectly, to its existence, in 2013. The U.S. public was effectively kept in the dark about this program for over a decade. Recently, with growing public awareness of the use of drones, questions have been raised as to whether or not unmanned technologies in general – and drones in particular – have the potential to lower the threshold for the use of lethal force. However, the literature surrounding this subject is limited. This thesis aims to provide the reader with a detailed background regarding the evolution of the U.S. military drone program. Moreover, it provides an analysis of the results from a public opinion survey I administered in 2014, in an attempt to discover what effect the use of military drones may have on a select sample from the Charlottesville and Albemarle area in the State of Virginia and the willingness to intervene militarily overseas.