More young Americans oppose drone strikes

Younger Americans are more likely to have reservations about the country's drone policy, a recent study found.
Younger Americans are more likely to have reservations about the country's drone policy, a recent study found.
Taking a hard line against the country's foreign policy, many young Americans oppose the use of drone strikes against extremist groups, a recent study found.

     The U.S. has used unmanned aircraft known as drones to bomb terrorist groups in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. While shielding American servicemen and women, the policy endangers innocent civilians.
     The U.S. drone policy has also revealed a foreign-policy generation gap, as seen in results of a recent Pew Research Center study.
     Among Americans ages 18-29, less than half -- 48 percent -- are supportive of U.S. drone strikes, while fully 50 percent disapprove. The Pew survey also showed a substantial gender rift, with women far less supportive of drones. While 50 percent of women support the strikes, 67 percent of men do.
     Overall, 58 percent of Americans approve of the use of drones, 35 percent disapprove and 7 percent say they don't know. The Pew center points out that overall, this percentage is little changed from 2013, when 56 percent of Americans approved of drone strikes.
     To be sure, most survey respondents expressed concern about innocent bystanders killed during drone attacks. In April, President Barack Obama announced that a CIA drone strike in Pakistan had taken the lives of two Western hostages, both aid workers: Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American, and Giovanni Lo Porto of Italy. [Read Obama’s statement here.]
     In the Pew report, 48 percent said they were very concerned that U.S. drone strikes were endangering the lives of innocent civilians. An additional 32 percent said this “somewhat” concerns them. 
     In Pakistan alone, there have been 397 strikes that have taken 2,231 to 3,610 lives in that country, according to the New America Foundation, a public policy institute involved in supporting investigative journalism. Along with the 1,775 to 2,971 militants killed, 260-309 civilians also have died. The foundation lists 196-330 “unknown” killed.   
     For its report, the Pew Research Center surveyed 2,002 adults by telephone during the second week of May. 


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