The Drone War: Pakistani Public Opposition to American Drone Strikes in Pakistan
C. Christine Fair
Case Western Reserve University; University of Akron
William J. Miller
December 23, 2012
The United States has made weaponized Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or armed drones, a major part of its fight against Al Qaeda and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, using them to carry out targeted killings on both Afghan and Pakistani territory. This paper explores the individual-level determinants of opposition to drone strikes on Pakistani territory. While the targets of the drone strikes are ostensibly Islamist militants, who mobilize religion to attract supporters to their cause, this paper argues that the principal grounds of opposition to the drone strikes in Pakistan are not religious in nature. Instead, most Pakistanis oppose the strikes because their only knowledge of them comes from highly negative coverage in the elite media. This 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: 25
Keywords: drone strikes, US-Pakistan relations, public opinion, Pakistanworking papers series
Date posted: December 23, 2012 ; Last revised: June 2, 2013
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