Unmanned: America's Drone Wars

Unmanned: America's Drone Wars

2013, Military and War  -   70 Comments
Ratings: 8.02/10 from 238 users.

The U.S. preferences are always to capture the terrorists because of the intelligence that can be gathered, but lots of the terrorist networks operate in a very remote regions and it's very difficult to capture them. However, of what we can discern from the pattern of drone strikes is that essentially Pakistan's been declared a no-capture zone. Captures automatically are not considered feasible.

If you just look at the numbers, there have been dramatically more people killed in recent years than captured. Three to four thousand people have been killed in targeted killings and only a handful have been captured. Despite all technological and human assets there's a lot of room for error. In drone attacks alone, over 300 children were killed. Those murders have to call into question the credibility of the kill-list methodology, because vast majority of strikes in Pakistan are against people whose identities the Government doesn't know.

Under the interpretations from the administration and the members of Congress, drone strikes could go on indefinitely against enemies who keep morphing into new enemies, but killing should be the exception not the rule. The U.S. should not have been using military force to attack innocent civilians let alone children. What kind of policy says it is legitimate and even sensible to assassinate a 16-year-old boy?

Before any strike is taken there must be near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured. That is not the case with the so called "signature strikes." Signature strike is a drone strike that isn't based on the identity of the target. These are strikes against people who "fit" the signature of what the U.S. Government says is a terrorist.

"In Unmanned: America's Drone Wars director Robert Greenwald investigates the impact of U.S. drone strikes at home and abroad through more than 70 separate interviews, including a former American drone operator who shares what he has witnessed in his own words, Pakistani families mourning loved ones and seeking legal redress, investigative journalists pursuing the truth, and top military officials warning against blowback from the loss of innocent life."

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70 Comments / User Reviews

  1. xxx

    this is crime and act of war, we all are citizens of second order , cattle for slaughter.... who is responsible for collateral damage of drone actions in other countries.....i understand completely, if till then innocent peoples whose children and relatives died in those attacks can easy become terrorists..... majority of terrorism attacks is just reaction on one or another actions and repressions against other sovereign countries, don't be mistaken, American and European military actions is not for freedom and democracy, its for interests of those in power.....first goes propaganda warfare to blacken some country and then army roll in ....

  2. Paul Kersey

    The USA has wonderful people, great ideas, and a solid Constitution...
    But a government that is rotten to the CORE.
    Imagine if China had bases here. I bet username LENNY would be first on board to want them out of here.
    Our CIA has toppled so many governments throughout the years.
    Rather than end their nation building or imperialism, they spy on EVERY citizen.
    They can't trust their own citizens!
    If the USA done bombs/murders/ and meddles overseas. They WILL turn on citizens.

    1. Becky

      How right you are....Americans are now the ™terrorists" and your on the list. ZOG will enslave those who survive.

  3. Plane Brain Simulations Co.

    To the Whole World. I am so sorry.

  4. AS1124

    im so glad I finally got to watch this. Our govt is responsible for all this carnage. Sickening. I wish I could personally apologize to these people

  5. winston

    'The U.S. preferences are always to capture the terrorists because of the intelligence that can be gathered,' That's why they (supposedly) executed an unarmed Osama bin Ladin and then dumped his body in the ocean/

  6. sara

    Are we that desperate for a hero that we ignore the blatant actions of a warlord?
    When people criticize Obama, all the mention is Obamacare. I'm starting to think OCare is the great distraction so no one really talks about the deaths he's sanctioned.
    Notice how his tone changed with Libya and Syria.

  7. Zafir Mohamed

    collateral damage..

  8. Nicholas Hewlett

    as i suspected and should of done something about it . i will now!! Thanks to the documentary team and all the others !!

  9. backhaul1

    A very compelling documentary, no doubt about it. But certain considerations of the drone issue were not covered:
    al Qaeda, its agents and operatives have declared themselves by words and actions to be America's enemy. Using Islamic dogma as a justification, al Qaeda, if unopposed, would wipe out our civilization.
    The fact is the jihadists and Taliban insurgents use civilians as human shields. It's a very cowardly thing to do.
    This tactic must be shown to be ineffective. We cannot be naïve about this.

    1. Nicholas Hewlett

      if i take your point of view i may as well give up life . how many more times will WE keep on destroying there lives , look in the past my friend , you will possibly work out what WEare doing wrong !!

    2. J F Johnson

      "If unopposed, would wipe out our civilization."

      As this documentary points out, the tribes are more than capable of policing themselves, and most of the people did not start out wishing war upon us. The urge to commit terrorism in many cases is a direct result of US use of terror and murder upon innocent members of their communities. Providing these people the means to live in peace and without fear of death at any moment would do more for our safety than murdering them ever could.

      "This tactic must be shown to be ineffective. We cannot be naive about this."

      If you are referring to drone warfare which bypasses both the rule of law and international conventions of warfare, then yes, it is ineffective and we would be naive to think it makes us any safer.

    3. Metin Yüksel Kaya

      what is your civilization doing in afghanistan or pakistan?
      if you stay in your home,you would not get wet by rain,so stop complaining about getting wet because you were so stupid to get out under the rain and thinking that rain has no rights to get you wet! -metaphor for dummies

    4. AS1124

      Yosemite: SAUDIS are the ones who supposedly did 911 ( unless you believe that it was a LHOP or MHOP scenario) so either which way: OUR govt attacked the wrong people and continue to do so. Its beyond criminal and ridiculous. Just because someone declares they hate you is NOT a justification to declare unofficial war under our Constitution. Jesus.....

  10. awful_truth

    This documentary is a reminder to people who do not question the actions of their governments abroad. The bottom line is there is no justification for sending armed drones into foreign countries in a pre-emptive manner. (might is not right, nor is fear based reasoning) All people need to remember is to follow the golden rule, and you will never go wrong. (how would I feel if a foreign country was bombing civilians in my country?)
    Throuhgout this doc, you continuously hear how they were just terrorists, (labels) so the U.S actions were somehow alright. Another way of looking at this is, how can there be a crime if there is no victim? Since they are the victims from a pre-emptive attack, than it is obvious who is the terrorist, and who has been terrrorized.
    P.S: This mindset was used by the Nazis as a defense at the Nuremberg trials after the second world war. This is precisely why George Bush Jr. and Richard Cheney are war criminals according to international law! (apparently, so is Obama; oops sorry, I forgot, he is a Nobel peace prize winner)

    1. James Thomas

      You're being too kind. I voted for Obama, and over the past couple years have come to where every-time I see his face or hear his voice, I feel ill.

      Obama is great at talking the talk of a good guy, but walks the walk of a lying, immoral, psychopathic, corporate-fascist. How did we end-up that such insane SOB's come to reign over this beautiful country that could do so much good for the world?

      Sometimes I feel like I have died, and gone to hell.

    2. awful_truth

      James Thomas: You did noting wrong by voting for Obama, with the hope of change for the better. Sadly speaking, you are correct in your analysis since either of your 2 choices would be a corporate backed sellout.
      Since the only real option is to fight the status quo, (Edward Snowdon) the price you will pay will be equally significant to the impact of your actions. Thus, enjoy life, and try not to take it all to seriously. Just remember, we didn't create the system, and as long as you remain true to your beliefs, (being a good person) allow those who have morally bankrupt themselves to deal with the consequences of their decisions. (karma is a bi*tch)

    3. sara

      I'm with you 100%. Obama has sent out more drone attacks than Bush ever did! People are being murdered left and right and no one seems to care because it's the Great Black Hope!

      When I look at him these days, I just have to turn my head and hit mute. I can't even listen to him.

      Borrowing a line from The Usual Suspects... The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

      This guy is collecting bodies left and right and talking out of both sides of his mouth.

      We need help!

    4. AS1124

      boy I couldn't have said it better james. Thankyou.

  11. TcyC2

    Nothing to hide in your eyes, might be offensive to other eyes. Look at this through government eyes, anything you own is up for grabs.....Control is the name of the game Sam....

  12. SamMoss

    the only thing you have to fear is...fear itself...hey when you have nothing to hide....take a gander is the way I look at it..

  13. jonik

    The more the US military does injustice in the world, the more justification there is for billions of funding to go to the military contractors....incl. big oil...and the more justification there is for rights violations, for "security", in the US and elsewhere.
    There's no economic incentive for complicit US officials to seek justice or to behave humanely.

    So....why are complicit US officials who have economic links to beneficiaries of endless "war" not exposed routinely? Who'd vote for, say, the representative from Boeing or Raytheon or BP or Halliburton or the rest?

    1. junior347

      Why? Because Americans think they are benefiting financially and that no one
      can ever touch the US. It's just an entertaining video game for them, or
      a football game where we always win. Check out the movie "The Box" (by
      the same director who made "Donny Darko"). The whole movie is a metaphor
      of this very phenomenon. Brilliant flick.

  14. Brad Lancaster

    why do people care that the us president is doing such a terrible job? no matter who gets to be the president, they are elected to do a terrible job. don't wake up to the reality or what ever, just be educated and call it a beauty contest like it is. next election the democrats have to make it through the swim wear portion with hill dog, watch out! oh yeah and stop using face book and twitter, more than half our privacy concerns would be meet if people tried to have privet lives.. any way haven't watched the infomercial yet so hold on I'm going to do a post doc/infomercial comment at the end. Titled: Conspiracy of my farts; Silent, Smelly, & Warm.

  15. Lastviewer

    It evoke the Vietwar & reminded me of the operation "Paperclip". Those NAZI psychotics must had fornicated since then? How one can differenciate one among the normal human beings?
    The US sure is one of the places where fanatic nationalism can be seen. Left alone China.
    Anyone can is intitled to pride murdering children is something else. I wouldn't pardon any of them because they didn't know what they were doing.
    We heard that in 45-46. It's now in their gene, in their way of life.
    Don't tell me they didn't know.

  16. shafawn

    U.S. media has already sold their soul to protect Obama no matter what.
    He is the great black hope to bring about socialism in America once and
    for all. That is their goal and it doesn't matter if Obama were the
    devil himself they are blind to anything but their own agenda and as all
    communists believe.. the end justifies the means of getting there. The
    documentary is good but the American people rely on main stream news to
    tell them what to think and main stream media tells them Obama is
    wonderful and that is all they will believe.

  17. shafawn

    Shhh be quiet. Obama goons are listening.
    Just give him another peace prize and go back to sleep

    1. issue23

      Illegal virtually indiscriminate airstrikes and summary executions = Nobel Peace Prize. It's a mad, bad world.

      When one of America's (many and increasing) enemies acquire drones, why – under the precedent set by the US – can't THEY fly drones over US soil and bomb the real terrorists that walk the corridors of Congress and the Pentagon, with their blow-dried hair, perma-tans and (fake) bleached white smiles, wearing their flash suits and shiny shoes?

      What's the difference?

    2. shafawn

      I agree with you but when we get attacked (and we will) innocent lives will pay as they have in other countries under Obama's "peaceful" reign.

  18. Ryan McAfee

    if the u.s. public were totally aware of all of the innocent lives that have been taken and the absolute havoc that has created in these families lives maybe then we would realize that this reduces the importance of the human life. It turns human death more and more into a video game.

  19. barbalicous

    This is wrong on so many levels. We each have the right to exist. This is not the way we should be handling this and why would the general public ever trust the CIA to do anything good?

  20. Kansas Devil

    Well, if the rest of the world gets their own drones and decide to give the US a lesson, please be better than the CIA and avoid hitting civilians.
    Makes a person wonder if the US will fall like Rome with the barbarians invading as drones.
    Since I work for a multinational corporation in the avionics industry I occasionally consider where I work could be wrongly targeted.

  21. issue23

    Obama's legacy.

    1. Harry Nutzack

      technically correct, but only because he was the sitting president when the a-stan build up happened. the use of drones is so prevalent because the ONLY thing that galvanizes the american public against war is POWs. the film shorts of american soldiers and especially pilots being used by NK, and NVA propagandists were what made the public cry "enough!". pilot as POW doesn't happen with drones. using drones instead of rifle squads prevents grunt POWs. no gaunt, emaciated POW faces on the news, no "heartland" objections to perpetual warfare.

    2. Lord_Kral

      great point. a movie called "white drone down" would never be exciting to watch...

  22. James Thomas

    There certainly is a valid argument that Obama is presently the most deadly terrorist alive; and that the US government is a psychopathic, out-of-control, engine of mass-destruction that is a scourge and curse on mankind.

    I foolishly voted for Obama, twice. However in the last year I can no-longer see a picture of him, or hear his voice, without feeling emotionally and physically sick. He is the antithesis of a genuine progressive.

    1. oQ

      And the next president you vote for won't be any better. Obama was the best actor the corporation could find at the time and people went for it.

    2. Jake

      We had our chance with Ron Paul.. 2016 maybe?

    3. J F Johnson

      Paul would fare no better. Just an attempt by the GOP to appeal to the anti-war, anti-drug-war demographic. He'd never win his party's nomination, and they won't run him third-party because it would take votes away.

      Even if he could defy the odds and win, he'd still just do the bidding of his corporate financiers, as all candidate of the duopoly do.

      Vote third party: one probably won't win in 2016, but a vote that dissents from the two corporate party is the only vote worth a damn.

    4. bringmeredwine

      I know what you mean, but I obviously didn't vote for him because I'm Canadian.
      During his first campaign, I thought he was "one of the good guys". (and I loved his family, you know?)
      Its a sad, sad world.

  23. Muhammad Tahir

    After watching this Video I hate US more, and it takes my 'green' for US into 'Red' for US by 80%. Like it or not, one day you people who press the trigger will live in agony and pain for the rest of your natural life.

  24. Fisnik Kelmendi

    Just wait, until they use Drons against Us Citizens. We know Us people are not bad, but the Us Goverment is the head of evil in the world.

    1. Harry Nutzack

      as a life long resident of the usa, Fisnik, i can assure you, you are 100% wrong. the majority of the population here are pretty much just as evil as our government.

    2. bringmeredwine

      Really? That's damned depressing.


      We know US people are not bad....

      That may be true but the government they have wasn't imposed on them. They elected the individuals who run the show.

  25. windship

    Yes, you'd think capturing Bin Laden alive would have been super high priority with the Pentagon, what a rich intelligence asset! But no such luck, live soldiers are just as clumsy as drones, they've all played the same video games. One has to wonder why they dumped the body in the ocean.... so nothing remains of one of the greatest myths of this century?

    1. DaftPunk

      Probably his Semper Fi tattoo was too much for the media to handle

  26. Highlander

    America,...... please leave other countries alone and they will not bother you either ....?

  27. hoiyvann

    US is a lying, criminal, terrorist state.

  28. Nigel Watson

    I don't know who has the greater degree of cluelessness here, the makers of this docu or far too many of the commenters; especially the Pakistani native who has apparently all the info he needs for a lifetime - no room in his cup, that's for sure.
    Quark, how do you ever get any new info in order to update your POV on anything? If you use the system you tout here when buying a new car, I expect you'd come home driving your brand-spanking new, 1953 Henry J (a great car... in '53).
    The filmmaker throws out as fact that the U.S.'s "preference" is to capture and put on trial, but, you know, some of those slippery types are just so darn hard to corral that we have no choice but to kill them from Kansas (then punch out and go home to the wife and kids for a comfortable evening at the old hacienda).
    Why do you think the USA's "preference" was to fill Usama full of lead, then drop him into the middle of the Indian Ocean (per Islamic 'tradition' - give me a break)? In this case, it doesn't matter what we say we did because it's all fiction; one more false-flag to add to a very long list.
    For all who care, do a search on "Pakistan drones collateral damage." Turns out we off 9 'citizens' for every terrorist (that we created in the first place). NjW

  29. CapnCanard

    America, keep on the lookout for drones overhead. And it is far more likely that the drones won't have to travel more than a 200 miles to find you.

    1. Kansas Devil

      We can go to Radio Shack and buy a drone now. The new flight technology will be and probably is leaking out since most of it is made in China and programmed in India.

  30. Top_Quark

    There is no proof to suggest that the drone strikes breed hatred for US amongst the victims, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of those killed in drone strikes are terrorists associated with Al-Qaida and Taliban. There is a long list of non-Pakistani Arab Salafi terrorist leaders who have been killed in Pakistan (my earlier and much longer post is awaiting moderation in which there is the link to that list).

    If drones produce hatred for America then why doesn't the dozens of suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan create similar hatred for the Taliban in Pakistan? Why don’t the Christians and Shias bombed in Pakistan take up arms and take revenge from the Taliban militants? The answer is simple, those who become Taliban follow the ideology of Salafist Islamism who believe in a return to the times of 700 AD Arabia where the land is to be ruled by a “pious” mullah, minorities & dissenting voices eliminated, women suppressed and trapped in homes and schools bombed. This ideology is coming from land of the house of Saud and even if the US and NATO leave Afghanistan in the next couple of years, this ideology will not go away.

    1. Harry Nutzack

      did you watch this doc? the "proof" you deny is actually plainly stated by a few youthful waziris in it. apathy became enmity after their kin were incinerated or dismembered. as far as vengeance by the christians and shia are concerned, who do you think are "dropping the dimes" that call in those drone strikes? vengeance without immediate risk, "clean hands", and a payoff for exacting their revenge. a trifecta if ever one existed

    2. Top_Quark

      i haven't watched this doc but i know the ground realities of the region coz i was born in the country. While there’s no denying that the few Waziri victims feel vengeful
      but look at the other side, the Taliban have killed over 50,000 innocent people in Pakistan alone in last 5 years. There were suicide bombings and rampant terrorism inside Pakistan even before the drone strikes started in around 2006.

      Clearly there is something other than “vengeful enmity” that is motivating these youth to become suicide bombers to kill their own countrymen and you don’t have to look far to find that motivation, they are being brainwashed by the Islamist clerics in the madrassahs and mosques that preach this hate filled ideology.

    3. Kansas Devil

      I'm guessing the Taliban are not dropping bombs on innocent children so there is no reason for the locals to hate the Taliban, at lease not as much as the drone owners.

  31. Harry Nutzack

    well done doc. clear, concise, and to the point. no politics, no declarations of "good and evil", just facts, and testimony to back them up. a superb illustration of why this policy is entirely counter-productive. were i a young waziri, i could very easily see these experiences inspiring me to take up arms against those who perpetrate these attacks. why do we still insist that we can "win hearts and minds" by killing children and mothers?

    1. terrasodium

      The technique is , to control the men, you must control the women , to control the women, you must threaten the children. imperialism 101

    2. Harry Nutzack

      actually, "imperialism 101" is to conscript a minority tribe as your "colonial police force", preferably one that has been discriminated against by the majority. "201" is condense enemies into a single populace, thus insuring no solidarity among your peons. "keep them more pissed at each other" is the model that works, "kill off their women and kids" has NEVER worked, except in the few cases where native populations were eliminated by a population of arriving colonists.

    3. terrasodium

      No tribe conscription required under the blanket of drone coverage , welcome to the 21st century.

    4. Harry Nutzack

      notice though, those waziri kids are pissed at US, not our "proxy them". the proxy force allows any vengeance taken to bypass the actual imperial power. it directs animosity and violence away from the actual empire builders, while directing it at the imperial proxies.

    5. terrasodium

      that is merely colateral political cannon fodder for the multinational (read no nation of domicile) incorporeal cabals , they pursue an idea regardless of the cost in human lives, and if the damaged parties , like the waziri kids , or the western public,cannot identify from where the problem derives , then job well done for the cabals
      edit. incorporeal in the legal dictionary definition which is very real.

    6. terrasodium

      imperialism 201 ,will be to sell them Ipods and smart phones, and insure all questions are asked and recorded in the google search bar.

  32. Lenny

    I for one support the drone program, the war on terror and the NSA.

    1. megatron_mcdaniels

      lol...uh me too.(looks up)

    2. Kansas Devil

      We all do by paying our taxes, voting with the majority, and keeping silent.

    3. Hooch

      You are an i*iot. Do you think its just going to stop with the perceived enemies? What you don't realize is that for the globalist cabal the world and everyone in it is the enemy. The goal is to reduce world population down to 500 million easily managed slaves.

      People need to wake up to the fact that the things they believe isn't the reality that exists.

  33. Michelle

    I suppose that our CIA can easily justify killing of barefoot boys playing soccer in the dirt with drones on the suspicion that they may grow up to be terrorists someday. This soccer mom would love to hear Obama's spin on this. Don't they realize that they and their children will hate the USA and the rest of the west until they die because of things like this? Is this the start of some new "No Child Left Behind" policy in the middle east? Pakistan has nukes; how stupid can we be pissing them all off like this?

    1. Harry Nutzack

      pakistan's nukes are really no threat to us here in the us. we lie far outside the range of any delivery system they could effectively employ. our cia has engaged in such activities pretty much since it opened for business.

    2. Gwayne Li

      it's like in the days (see south america**), but now there's internet.