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US drone strikes set 'dangerous precedent' that could trigger wider wars: ex-US officials

Published on Jun 26, 2014 1:28 PM
 
A drone being prepared by Israeli soldiers for use over the West Bank town of Hebron to search for three teenagers kidnapped earlier this month. Former top US officials, in a report, have acknowledged that the robotic aircraft are a useful tool that is "here to stay," but fear that the increasing use of lethal unmanned aerial vehicles may create a slippery slope leading to continual or wider wars. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - America's reliance on secretive drone missile strikes against terror suspects has set a "dangerous precedent" that could be imitated by other countries and trigger wider wars around the world, former senior US officials said in a report on Thursday.

The ex-officials acknowledged that the robotic aircraft are a useful tool that is "here to stay," but urged President Barack Obama to lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds their use, introduce stricter rules for the strikes and take a hard look at whether the bombing raids were genuinely effective.

"The increasing use of lethal UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) may create a slippery slope leading to continual or wider wars," said the report by a bipartisan panel sponsored by the Stimson Centre think-tank.

The employment of drones for attacks outside of traditional battlefields "is likely to be imitated by other states as well," fuelling instability and increasing "the risk of widening conflicts in regions around the globe," it said.

 
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