Sigma: Journal of Political and International Studies


Jake Berlin


drone, Pakistan, terrorism


In the mountainous region of northwestern Pakistan known as Waziristan, local tribesmen have grown accustomed to living in a state of constant vigilance. Death from above can come at virtually any time in the form of laser-guided missile strikes launched by U.S. predator and reaper drones. The drones are controlled remotely by pilots thousands of miles away at bases in the U.S. and can hover for hours before delivering their deadly payload. Advanced cameras allow drone operators to see their targets from distances that are impossible for the targets to see them, and the missiles launched by drones exhibit astounding accuracy and precision.1 Drone attacks constitute an understandably terrifying prospect to residents of Waziristan, and locals have nicknamed the drones "wasps" for the ominous buzzing sound they make (Bergen and Tiedemann 2012, 12). There is something disconcerting about the video game-like ease with which drone strikes can deal out death. Within the U.S. and throughout the world, debates have raged over the morality and legality of drone strikes. Even though drones strikes are designed to discriminate between terrorist targets and innocent civilians, there have been many instances of drone strikes causing tragic collateral damage.