The Drone War: Pakistani Public Opposition to American Drone Strikes in Pakistan
C. Christine Fair
University of Akron; Case Western Reserve University
William J. Miller
December 23, 2012
One of the principal means of destroying Al Qaeda, as well as Afghan and Pakistan Taliban targets in Pakistan, employed by U.S. forces has been weaponized Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones. This paper seeks to explore the individual-level determinants of Pakistani public opposition to the use of drone strikes against militants on Pakistani territory. While the targets of the drone strikes are ostensibly Islamist militants who mobilize religion in defense of their cause, this study makes the argument that the principal source of opposition to the drone strikes in Pakistan is not religious in nature; rather it stems from many Pakistanis following the pervasive elite media discourse on the drone strikes, which focuses on the human costs of the drone strikes and distrust of the United States. The study employs data from the 2010 Pew Global Attitudes Project. The paper tests the argument made here against alternative explanations using a Heckman probit model and finds that the argument is supported by the data analysis.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: drone strikes, US-Pakistan relations, public opinion, Pakistanworking papers series
Date posted: December 23, 2012 ; Last revised: January 31, 2013
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