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Drones: Eyes in the sky

Publication Date: 
February 10, 2013
Source: 
CBS News

Professor James Cavallaro, director of Stanford's International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, is quoted in this CBS News story on whether "drones are the best option" for keeping American soldiers out of harm. 

We learned this past week about the administration's legal justifications for the use of drones, that catch-all term for an expanding family of unmanned flying military hardware. The week's revelations further fueled the public debate about the propriety of drone strikes against human targets, and their application within our own border, as we'll hear with Martha Teichner's report in our "Sunday Morning" cover story:

Their names -- Predator, Reaper -- imply their deadly intent. They are what we've come to understand drones to be: Unmanned killing machines armed with hellfire missiles, controlled from thousands of miles away, as they stalk and then destroy supposed terrorist targets in places like Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan.

...

"The data show that only a relatively small number of high-level targets have been killed, something on the order of 50, estimates vary. which is roughly 2 percent of those who have been killed," said James Cavallaro, a law professor at Stanford University. "Which means that 98 percent of those killed have not been high-level targets."

Cavallaro is co-author of a paper critical of U.S. drone use. He and his team went to Pakistan.

"We don't hear enough about the costs, civilians killed, civilians injured, destruction of communities, growth of anti-Americanism, and fomenting recruitment for terrorist groups," he told Teichner. "When all of that is considered, there are serious doubts about whether drones are the best option.