Majority of Americans support US drone strikes, survey says

Majority of Americans support US drone strikes, survey says
© Getty Images

Despite concerns that drone attacks can endanger the lives of innocent civilians, more than half of Americans still support using them to target extremists in Pakistan, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. 

The national survey of 2,002 adults from May 12 to May 18 found 58 percent of Americans approve of using drone strikes to target extremists in countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, while 35 percent disapproved of U.S. drone attacks.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to survey results, the public expresses less concern over other potential consequences of U.S. drone attacks — about 3 in 10, or 31 percent, were very concerned they could lead to retaliation from extremist groups, while 29 percent said they were very concerned about whether they are being conducted legally, and 24 percent said they were very concerned about damaging the United States’s reputation around the world.

Public concern about possible consequences from drone attacks, however, has changed little from two years ago. Overall, 48 percent said they were very concerned that U.S. drone strikes will endanger innocent civilians.

Earlier this year, two hostages, including one American, were killed by a U.S. drone strike targeting an al Qaeda compound along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. 

In its survey, Pew found that the public continues to doubt the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. Of those surveyed, 56 percent said the U.S. has mostly failed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan, while 36 percent said the U.S. has mostly succeeded.