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January 12, 2010
In tactical shift, drone-fired missiles rain on Helmand

An MQ-9 Reaper drone. Photo:

In Afghanistan, the U.S. military said that 16 militants were killed in two separate attacks by unmanned drones.

They took place in war-torn Helmand province and could mark a turning point in American war tactics.

While drones have been used widely across the border in Pakistan, they have been used mainly for surveillance purposes in Afghanistan. Until yesterday’s operations, there were very few known drone strikes in Afghanistan.

As the war in Afghanistan escalates, should the U.S. broaden its use of unmanned drones against militants, even if innocent civilians die?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.




Why has no one drawn a parrallel between these modern “drones” and Nazi V-2 and V-3 Missiles used against London’s population in the 1930’s?

Why was it heinous in the 20th Century and diminiuized as cuddly little “drones” in the 21st?



i suggest you have the common courtesy to look what we have done in the eyes. a lot of our soldiers got hit with DU rounds in DS1 from friendly fire too.

there is large debate about japan surrendering and our need for the bombs we dropped on japan.


Collateral Damage is a “No-No”,period! It’s a genetic,mutated recruiter of great magnitude for those thousands that sat on the sidelines,a true(Nationalistic Autonomous/Independence Calling) milestone regarding empirical abetted fundamentalism. [Noteworthy: during the Viet Nam War the US had to stop sorties of F-105’s as they were ineffective for jungle(adapted,and evolve)warfare as was the combat rifle (great accuracy but jammed,and in the jungle,their accuracy wasn’t top priority)(not very effective with wind,and sand as a factor either) M-16 when compared to the Ak-47(a litany of reasons that are to lenghty for explanation?)] Now,..back to the “America at War” scenerio with Afghanistan,and Iraq,… these two so-called diabolical diviate countries out to destroy the free world? Let me reiterate, was the Arabs from Saudi Arabia,and Yemen that carried out 9-11 ,not Iraqi’s, which under Saddam’s rule were Sunni Muslem’s ,and hated the al-Qaeda,not to mention the Taliban that never figured into the political(equation referencing the,”Triangle of Un-Godliness”?)hatred landscape at the time of United States invasion in 2003! There never were WMD’s,nor were they capable of producing a Nuclear Weapon,period!They had absolutely no involvement,…so it makes one wonder why Iran is just a wee-bit nervous? Afghanistan,…another unfortunate recipient of harboring,and causing 9-11 through (what did Afghanistan do to create the “Wrath and Awe” of the mighty eastern Christian crusader’s?) al-Qaeda which by the way the United States inteligence was fully abreast of their covert enterprise (remember,they were in no-man’s land between Afghanistan,and Pakistan, and “No” surrounding country period was responsible,or aware of their radicalized,… incipient nefarious actions to come about. Military strategist from both sides of the Af/Pac battlefield will soon realize how quickly this renegade (no-name entity?)handful of crazies can improvise,as they have shown their adversaries time in,and time out. With the innocents being killed,the eyes of the locals will focus like a “Lynx-eyed Laser” on Kandahar,and Jalalabab air fields in Afghanistan,and quickly relay reconnaissance to al-Qaeda via the Taliban (Pastun),and believe me,… these people are the masters of invention when it comes to “Mind Game’s”! They will basically set up camp outside these bases knowing when the drones are commissioned, and set co-ordinates to destroy them shortly after,… with Russian/North Korea/Chinese/Iranian made heat-seeking missles. No secrets here,…remember this (chickenhawks) if you were to loose a loved one,and given 500 greenbacks,and told it’s for your freedom,…what would your response be? Great article World Focus


As I read all these comments on the forum, I feel the question needs to be clarified. Why is Americans in Afghanistan? To make a difference in that country and the region in general, or to kill as much as possible, in order that they feel that a ‘score’ is being settled for 911?


Remember the UAV that got its video tapped into.
Buying a piece for $26.00 from a Electronics store. WOW!!! Thats a reason not to use them. That was an undercovered story. Technology is no match for people. Maybe ONLY use for survelance.


The ignorance, and hypocrisy of American policies and actions throughout the world is exceeded only by the arrogant attitude with which they are implemented. Drone attacks would be better directed at their source than to take one more innocent life. American’s as a whole need to get over themselves, if they are of the opinion that American lives are worth more than that of any other human being.


Yes, we should use them as necessary for two reasons (1) they cut down on the number of US and other Nato casualties (2) the terrorist had no mercy on the civilians on 911 here in America – we show them no mercy – because many of those civilians are harboring terrorist and those same civilians know that they are harboring terrorist. JIM @ USA


I’d love to see real “shock and awe” and use every drone we have to target as many militants/terrorists as quickly as possible. In war, there will always be civilian casualties, however, we can’t continue to loose more troops because we have to tip toe around civilians. The militants know far too much (via media) as to what we will or won’t do in war. Yes, this is war, and the time to be politically correct is over!


God brought ORDER from Chaos. The USA is creating CHAOS from Order. The LAST thing a SUCCESSFUL anti-insurgency does or wants to do, is alienate more of the Population and drive them to support the Terrorists. Yet that is EXACTLY what the USA is doing. So just keep blowing up those weddings and shooting handcuffed children as you whine “They hate us for our Freeeeeeedom” (a commodity seriously lacking in America these days).


Drones should not be used.
Nothing is better and reliable than a well trained soldier.

Alistair Mckay,


Innocent lives are expended in any war. Eg.Hiroshima. Without Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks Japan wouldn’t have surrenderd. That is the cost one country pays for harboring murderers. Life is unfair.


we need to use more depleted uranium and we need to put space based lasers into orbit. and more drone attacks.

do they do these in the middle of the night ever? i wouldn’t doubt it. what’s the difference they strike from so far away and are so quite and small it’s like completely out of no-where from what i understand anyway.

we get the militaries message shuved down our throats since tots, in our toys and in our schools and with all their adds. well where’s the other side of the argument? hardly touched.

fu world focus tell us what we need to hear.

DU and US space superiority. i don’t want to be running from invisible chemical lazers as fast as light, directed by clear eyes, fired from space while my friends and family are popping out DU babies.

our media should really do a better job at making sure people know this stuff. and obviously our schools and churches.

the director for the center for defense has even said weaponizing space is the most crucial issue of the 21st c. and the leading expert on DU, the UN, and many others have concluded it’s a mutagen, esp. if embedded in the flesh and inhaled.

we need to be like anthropologists and leave the smallest impact of our culture on others, unless they actually want it. and i’m sure they don’t want our nuclear waste.

half of my taxes goes towards militarism and i’m not responsible for these actions?

if that’s so than why don’t i just start funding al qaeda? (if the only violence they resorted to was self immolation, or something of the sort then i’d totally fund al qaeda)

am i gonna be tortured to death?

i’ve only expressed a weird, less violent then war supporters, doctrine of non-violence.


Excuse my generalization, but only ignorant cowards would use these methods in a “war”, but since our government and military have committed halfway genocide in Iraq (not to mention our wonderful record of killing innocent people in the past 100 who we have labeled “terrorists” throughout the world) I’m guessing we can all just prepare to lose or at least . Anyone who believes that America can win over Afghanistan is either uneducated in the history(s) of world, of simply ignorant to the fact that they can’t even partially control or take care of our problems here at home. The fact that we are using drones there indicate that we are there to fight and that we can now blame a machine for however many hundreds of families we end up killing. We need to remember or at least come to understand, that everything comes full circle, because there are too many people in this country who don’t even understand how this country has gotten to this point, and have a strange and almost sick sense that our problems can be solved by killing more people using a remote control airplane. Yes it is true we can blame Al Qaeda, just as we have blamed every “war” on the so called enemy, but you also don’t start a war for another country and expect a better future for your kids. Most white people will probably get angry when they read this very toned down break down of how things are, and will likely lack the ability to learn more and hate less, but it’s all good in the hood right?


I take it, Rick, that you are a staunch proponent of the commandment “Thou shall not kill”…


Drones should not be used in any war zone in which civilians could be injured or killed. The Geneva Convention should be honored. If we need to increase the troop numbers and inhabit the country so be it. Our troops and the Afghanistan civilians would be safer. Were at war with the terrorist supposedly and to assist the Afghanistans obtain and maintain rule and order in their country.


fire away! as many as humanly possible!!!


Like in all wars the enemies adapt to the changing situation. Maybe they will start wearing night-vision goggles and only operate at night.


Preservation of civilian or NATO military life is rule #1. The enemy however has no descrimination with civilians. The drones should be used for intelligence gathering and then as a weapon of opportunity when civilian life is not threatened. Reports of civilian deaths should not be assumed when reported by the enemy.


WITHOUT A DOUBT The U.S. SHOULD broaden its use of unmanned drones against militants. Innocent civilians may die but the innocent civilians need to be told again and again that this is war and they need to stay completely away from the enemy.
The forces that we are fighting do NOT have rules of engagement. Why is that?…I await an answer


The drone program seems to be an effective way of inteligence gathering tool and way of taking the battle to the heart of our enemies. Like any other system, it’s value depends on the quality of it’s management. It’s use needs to be in the hands of wise and thoughtful people.


We should use our technology, drones, to attack al-qaeda as they use underwear bombers on our jets to attempt to kill hundreds of innocents.

Obama’s error is to send more targets, our troops, to be killed by the taliban. Using a Vietnam era heavy military presence ignores the value of high tech weapons that allow us to target the real enemy and those that support them.


Drone warfare is a huge slip down a muddy slope. One of the deterrents to going to war or choosing aggression over diplomacy is the estimate of troop losses (because no army, no government really gives a damn about civilians)and how high they will have to be before your citizens will begin to protest. America can’t invade Pakistan (yet) and that is the reason you see the attacks there not Afghanistan. It is remote control warfare and the civilian deaths do greatly exceed the non civilian.

There are so many moral implications tied up with the use of drones it’s impossible to put in a few paragraphs, but increasingly we are dehumanizing the entire population of the countries we are “at war” with. It is so dangerous to start believing we can win anything without the balance of our own losses. Just look at some of the comments already- it works and civilians die because it’s someone else’s fault. People die in war, big deal. The implication of those remarks is “their lives aren’t as important as mine or my countrymen”. If that’s progress maybe we need to aim our enormous firepower at ourselves and spare the rest of the world a century of misery.

The dehumanization has already begun.


Excuse me, they come over here and kill hundreds of us, now we go over there and they expect us to not kill any of their civilians? I say go for it.


Killing inocent people in the so called war on terror, it is an act of terrorism. Some decent politicians like Ron Paul in the US are asking, why some people become terrorists. It is the issue to be debate, why the press is avoiding it. I think that to invade, and occupied small, weak and sovereign countries it is inmoral, ilegal and constitue a crime that is creating more and more acts of terrorism against us. US foreign policy has to change. Unfortunate Barack Obama has become a continuation of George Bush.


RE: Pipeline comments: Please realise that the cost of logistics of defending a pipeline for several years or decades after it is built would far exceed the value of it. No business man in his right mind would build a pipeline that he can’t defend in a war torn area where insane people blow people up everyday. They would be fixing the thing every few days and the losses would exceed the value. Don’t believe every conspiracy theory without common sense. Do they want a pipe? YES… but not unless there is enough stability to keep it safe. The cost of the war to win stability would far exceed the value of the pipeline.

We are there for Osama. If he turned himself and his crew in, we would leave in a few months.


I believe that the single biggest mistake President Bush made when we went into Iraq was apparently not ordering our military, and making a part of the mission statement, the concept of doing their best to conduct their operations in such a way as to avoid any, or as close to that as possible, innocent civilians being harmed. If the Iraq Body Count project gives any fair representation of what happened during the first month or two of that operation, (and every month after that), then President Bush either failed to give our military that instruction or it appears that our military largely ignored it apparently for the sake of TACTICAL CONVENIENCE. How good were the results? How successful was the MISSION itself, which was to bring down the regime and to LIBERATE the Iraqi people? It was not until David Petraeus was brought in that things started to get better. I believe that if our military had really done their best to avoid harming any innocent civilians, the outcome in Iraq probably would have been vastly different much sooner (which it potentially could have been), with much better results, even if it had been tactically more difficult or taken a few weeks (or months) longer to do so. Until President Obama appointed Gen. McChrystal to head Afghanistan, our air strikes in that country had reportedly killed over 800 civilians. What were the results of that? How successful was the mission by that point? With the majority of Americans going to church every week and believing in the commandment “Thou shall not kill”, it’s amazing to me how difficult it seems to be for our military to get that concept into their heads regarding innocent civilians. If we say that “In God we trust”, then what excuse do we have to knowingly wipe out an entire village of civilians or blow the legs off a 9 year old girl just to get a couple of “militants” who may have joined the cause because we killed over 800 civilians in their country anyway? We should have a CAREFUL approach, not a careless one. I would say that killing civilians out of tactical CONVENIENCE, when it is really NOT necessary to do so, is simple murder.


Your question as stated presupposes that drones would kill more innocent civilians than manned aircraft. This may or may not be true but should not be built into the question or it will impact your results. You could have just as easily asked : Should they use more drones if there are fewer civilian casualties? Human pilots are making a decision in the same way wether they are in the cockpit or not. What makes us think that at hundreds of miles per hour, from miles away the human eye could possibly distinquish between a combatant and a civilian if he were in the cockpit? The pilot who is at a computer terminal manning the drone might actually have better information than the one who is in a traditional aircraft.

To drone or not to drone is NOT the question. Whether or not the civilian casualty rate can be reduced by any measure should always be taken into account.

As to al-Quieda and the Afghan’s who die in their proximity. Please don’t blame them for “chosing to live so close”. These civilians are mostly dirt poor and could not afford to move even if they wanted to. The blame does belong on Osama’s shoulders. If he were half as brave as the men he sent to do his dirty work, he’d turn himself in to stop the bloodshed. Instead he hides, a coward affraid to face justice.


“…should the U.S. broaden its use of…”. The U.S.? What’s the U.S.? Is this some kind of super subconcious sentient ego from the Forbidden Planet breathlessly waiting for my beck and call? I should be thankful my Congressman’s office staff can’t come out of my telephone! But then what mood would you be in if you got half-a-million phone calls a day?

Frankly, I have a better chance of getting a date with Daljit Dahliwal than believing ANYONE in government cares what I think!


No, attacking civilians constitutes a war crime and, anyway, their deaths only serve to strengthen those who hate us.

Is it clear to all that some of the drone “pilots” are stationed in Syracuse, NY. Have breakfast with your kids, go to work and kill women and children along with possibly some combatants and then go home, go shopping and bring your kids to bed. What kind of a picture is this? What does it say about us? What will it do to the “pilots”?

What about using non military methods such as speaking with the village elders and building schools if that is what they wish? (See Greg Mortenson’s books.)


These wars have nothing to do with freedom and democracy in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan or the saftey of the American people at home. These wars are about securing money, profit, and the resources to make that money and profit for Exxon Mobile, BP British Petroleum, and even Russian Oil interests. Our soldiers are dying for the benefit of Oil and Gas share holders and investors who are foaming at the mouth at the profitable resources (FOR THEM) sitting just under the battlefields. This war isnt about your saftey or mine its about the rich getting richer, and if you need it clearified for you its the obscenely rich (royals and elitist) who make up the membership in the clandestine global secret government, THEIR children never fight and die in these wars. Notice Prince Harry went to war (for a fake wartime tour of duty and photo op) and was rushed home on que when they themselves leaked he was there (to give the impression of him being in danger in the front lines — yeah right!) These geo-political manipulators have been at this game for centuries! Question everything, dont believe anything you see or hear being spoon fed to you, we are all unwilling prisioners of the system created long before any of you were even born, Your tax money is funding these activities and YOU have no way to say “NO to it” as your money is taken from you before you even get your pay check, THATS all part of the system your a slave to and dont even know it, Your job “unwittingly or not” is to fund your masters activities thru taxes (basically money being stolen from you), welcome to the herd of cattle or sheep as it were, Now produce (your masters say) produce! for they have a geo-political world to manipulate and it will take lots of money and blood to do it. The minute you are born you are tagged like a steer, say hello to your social security number, your life long ID tag, they may as well “brand it” into your arm like cattle. still think your free? you just THINK your free, and thats exactly the plan, if you think your free you wont resist your masters. I take my leave, good luck out there in the pretend land of the free.


Enemy soldiers don’t exist in a social or economic vacuum. We should be specifically targeting known groups that provide support to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.


Sometimes i wonder what would happen if everyone who is clearly zombified and asleep out there woke up all at the same time to the realization that they are all living in a dream world created for them long ago by the world powers that be. Republicans/Democrats they’re all the same thing, they both work for the same seret master a clandestine world government that picks and chooses who wins wars like chess pieces on a game board. When you vote for a Republican or Democrat YOU ARE VOTING FOR THE SAME PEOPLE. There is NO DEMOCRACY its all a sham, a scam, a global scam at that. Dont bother voting for an Independent as that slot if filled by who ever conviniently decides to fill it from either party, like Joe (Mr i dont know if im a democrat or republican or really just a puppet for AIPAC in Israel) Lieberman. You want even a chance at real change vote for a grass roots 3rd party candidate. Not a Repub, Dem, or Even a planted Independent. These puppet politicians and their secret masters are dead set on enslaving all of you. No matter who you vote for THEY WIN. Fight the powers, get off their brainwashing juice, wake up world wake up!


Drones appear to do more harm than good. They inevitably kill civilians and create hostility among the civilian population whose minds and hearts we are trying to win.


I can’t detect any coherent plan in south Asia. Perhaps our leaders have resurrected the favorable kill ratio concept of Robert Strange McNamara’s, used back in the sixties.


Is not the use of drones guided by “intelligence” and killing innocents the equivalent of suicide bombers blowing up innocents? At least the suicide bombers have the courage to sacrifice themselves in the process. The U.S. has no business sending lethal guided bombs into another nation when the “enemy” has no national boundaries.


NO, NO, NO. Why are we bombing in Afghanistan OR Pakistan? Who are the cowards — those who “drive” the drones and have no feeling about who is being killed.
I agree with earlier comment: we should NOT even be in Afghanistan: it’s only because of the oil pipeline from Caspian Sea (across Helmund Province!!!). Also, NO drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, ANYWHERE! This is NOT what the US is about; and as others have said, it’s another recruiting tool for insurgents who will do even more harm to US/UN military and civilians. WE SHOULD LEAVE ASAP.


Perhaps you should have phrased your question “Should the number of drones be increased If fewer coalition soldiers will be killed, the enemy will think twice about planting road side bombs and this action in Afghanistan will come to an end sooner resulting in fewer Afghan civilians killed “ The answer is apparent and you could use this space for more relevant questions.


No, not where there’s a large civilian risk. Unfair. We are building a terrible legacy.


it does not improve the success of a mission when an inosent person dies , killing inocent people turns more people into enemies. does anyone have a solution for war? the only solution is that we all lay down our guns but that’s like a one in a trillion chance


For every terrorist ( Ignorant thug gangland murderer )we kill and rid the world of , there are countless more young being trained ( brainwashed )everyday at the same time to take over . We must educate there young and old at the same time . Teaching and re-educating is being done , but a very low percentage of the population is being reached in these regions . otherwise our children are in for big trouble in the years to come . And we will be to blame. this will go on for many years , and the cycle continues . Welcome to the next century


No, no, a thousand times No. We do not belong in Afghanistan. We are there, I believe, to bring a gas pipeline down from the Caspian Sea region, through Afghanistan, and through Pakistan. Why does no one discuss this. No one talks about it. These drones do not differentiate between civilians and “terrorists.” All one needs be is a “suspected” terrorist ro be targeted. We do not belong in Iraq, nor Afghanistan, nor Pakistan. We are now bombing in those countries, and the front has now been moved to Yemen. What kind of a country have we become? We turn over $900 Billion to our defense department every year to find new and better ways to kill people, and our whole country is falling apart. Each of these dronw cost millions to build. This will all come back to us.


I support Suzanne S., Matthew & Jo Anne’s comments. NO drones should ever be used, as they are counter-productive, a recruiting tool for any terrorist group and inhumane. How would you feel if a drone killed your mother, child, or even father, brother, sister…?


All things considered, no.


Why not? What the hell, kill them all! We have been killing people in that part of the world for years now. Why stop now? All this killing without a declaration of war.What a proud legacy.


Drone strikes have produced startling results. Collateral damage has been minimal. Let them multiply as the surge commences.


YES! More Drones. If the insurgents start to realize that the act of planting an IED is virtually a suiside mission the number of IEDs may reduce. As far a civiilians are concerened the insurgents don’t seem to care with all the suicide bombings in public places.


What you see in the war on terror is a melding of guerilla warfare and total war. 9/11 is a perfect case and point. Al Qaeda used a guerilla tactic to inflict mass civilian casualties and strike at the heart of the government and economy as well. Eventually the United States responds by using drones to target Al Qaeda members and leaders. This is an example of high tech guerilla warfare in which civilians become collateral damage. I don’t think there is much moral high ground on this one, but because Al Qaeda made civilians a target, we are justified in our drone attacks. No one with a conscience likes the thought of killing civilians, but one must weight the lesser of two evils.


Casualty estimates from world war II range from 62 million to 78 million people. Of these, between 40 and 52 million were civilians. We won that war because we went all out to win the war first – then the ‘hearts and minds’.


I think using drones is terrific. How many US lives have been lost and how many soldiers have been maimed or injured by insurgent car bombs! They are the cowards, bombing innocent people at mosques, schools and festivals. The drone bombings are being verified by troops on land and all efforts are being taken to protect the innocent. Finally America values life too much to waste it on wars.


The drones are effective tools, but are not the sole solution to the war. Remember, the main goal in Afghanistan is to rebuild the countries social and economic infrastructure which will, hopefully, knock out the pedestal from under the Taliban, not to heedlessly attack every militant in that country. That won’t bring lasting results. Drones should be continued to be in service, but in moderation. Civilians are not harboring militants out of free will, but are often coerced into giving them shelter.Collateral damage will hurt our efforts in the long run.


Americans are resorting to cowardly methods of war. Pity.


Yes,the U.S. should use drones even if it costs innocent lives,definately yes. The U.S. is at war and needs to use whatever means are effective to win it. The war is tragic, the killing is tragic, and the loss of lives, innocent and combatant is tragic. The issue is to use tools that will win the war as quickly as possible.


I want to say no…but what is the alternative? how do we disable these combatants?


No. In the short and long term, this will create a backlash (“blowback”) that Americans cannot comprehend or deal with. It is also a nightmarish practice — imagine if someone did it to us.


If a drone do the job better (with less civilian casualties than if a pilot was used) then of course they should be used. If the chance of casualty is the same, then the drone should be used (one less human life at risk). Otherwise, no.




In any war there is going to be callateral damage, after all those radical terrorist claim
to be they only ones that understand Gods well,
as a christan I take offence that they chose our
Holliest of days to launch their underware attack
on the trully God fearing people of this Earth.


The United States has already murdered so many people in Afghanistan and elsewhere as part of their war of revenge. If we wish to stop people around the world from having a desire to attack America, we should stop furthering violence in other nations, and on other people’s lands.


The very idea of sending unmanned drones to kill unnamed civilians is appalling. It is the epitome of immoral,unconsidered behavior, a negation of everything one would hope humanity had learned through the centuries.


Yes.. because the great empire of debt, delusion,obesity, war profiteering, slogan swallowing flag waving and hypocrisy should not be concerned about “collateral damage” because foreigners [the poor ones anyway] are not really human beings like bible thumping Americans who watch fox news are. Everyone knows that.


Hell yea increase these attacks. Innocent people always die in war. Also the civilians know they are around the terriorst and they harbor them. They help kill Americans by letting the terriorst hide among them. They either need to pack up and leave or not complain


Send in the drones, keep the boys at home!!


Yes..because it is a tool [weapon] that’s working.
As to innocent civilian’s they our dying inpart
by al-Qaeda ‘s BOMBINGS = Targeting women & children ! IF these people so choose to live near
Place the blame squarely on the backs of al-QAEDA’S [WERE IT BELONGS ] !!!

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