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The Drone War: Pakistani Public Opposition to American Drone Strikes in Pakistan

C. Christine Fair

Georgetown University

Karl Kaltenthaler

Case Western Reserve University; University of Akron

William J. Miller

Flagler College

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, Pakistan

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Date posted: December 23, 2012 ; Last revised: August 20, 2014

Suggested Citation

Fair, C. Christine and Kaltenthaler, Karl and Miller, William J., The Drone War: Pakistani Public Opposition to American Drone Strikes in Pakistan (December 23, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2193354 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2193354

Contact Information

C. Christine Fair (Contact Author)
Georgetown University ( email )
Washington, DC 20057
United States
Karl Kaltenthaler
Case Western Reserve University ( email )
10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States
University of Akron ( email )
302 Buchtel Commons
Akron, OH 44325
United States
330-972-8060 (Phone)
330-972-8871 (Fax)
William J. Miller
Flagler College ( email )
74 King Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084
United States
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