25 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2012 Last revised: 20 Aug 2014
Date Written: 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.
Keywords: drone strikes, US-Pakistan relations, public opinion, Pakistan
Suggested Citation: 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