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Published on May 1, 2015
Drone warfare has quickly become the norm. Since taking office, President Obama has carried out 300 more covert strikes than President Bush did in Pakistan alone, and he has opened new fronts in Yemen and Somalia. Meanwhile armed drones are taking on Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, alongside manned aircraft. These new campaigns present importation questions about the way governments are using drones, where they are using them, and who is being affected. For instance, are drone strikes truly ‘risk free’? And are they lowering the threshold for war?
Chris Woods, a widely-published journalist focused on conflict and national security issues, attempts to answer these and other questions in his book, Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars. A former senior BBC producer, he has authored some of the key investigations into covert US drone wars. His work for this book and other projects has taken him to the terrorist-infested hills of Waziristan; to the urban battlefields of Iraq; and to the conflict zones of Israel and Palestine. He was recently awarded the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for his investigative work on drones.
In his book, Woods has gathered unique insights from drone operators, intelligence officials and analysts, former Special Forces operatives, and Pentagon commanders to uncover the secretive history of the United States’s drone campaigns both on and of the hot battlefield. They are campaigns which have killed thousands, and have helped degrade Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups – but have they made us safer?
New America is pleased to welcome Mr. Woods for a discussion on the secret history of armed drone use in the United States and the use of drones in today’s covert targeted killing project.
Chris Woods Former senior BBC producer Author, Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars
Moderator: Peter Bergen Director, International Security Program, New America