An article GlobalSecurity.org published last September defends [drone] technology:
[D]rones are considered one of the most sophisticated of modern-day weapons — more precise than regular missiles — and have the ability to verify targets without risking the lives of pilots. A recent study conducted by the New America Foundation shows that … the civilian casualty rate [from drone strikes] since 2004 … is approximately 20 percent.
The piece condemns Pakistani authorities and other parties for misrepresenting the toll drone strikes exact upon civilians. According to the NAF study, insurgents often claim their slain comrades were civilians after burying them. These assertions appear credible, yet they speak to a critical limitation of this technology and, more specifically, the manner in which presidents of both parties have chosen to use it.
Consider the aforementioned civilian casualty rate. Twenty percent. One in five. I would argue that this is unacceptable and beneath the aspirations of the great American experiment. However, as a practical matter, it is difficult to see how this butcher’s bill can be reconciled with our strategic objectives. After all, killing innocent civilians is bad policy.
Read the entire article here.