Gallup: Drones over thee, not we

posted at 12:01 pm on March 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The First Rule of Drones looks a lot like the First Rule of Retail — location, location, location.  According to a new poll by Gallup, almost two-thirds of Americans support the use of drones to spot and target terrorists, as long as we spot them over there instead of over here.  When the suspected terrorists are on US soil, two-thirds or more want drones to buzz off:

A majority of Americans oppose the use of drone strikes on U.S. soil and against American citizens wherever they may be, according to a poll on Monday, but are perfectly fine with the program’s primary use — killing suspected terrorists abroad.

Sixty-five percent of Americans say the United States should use drones to launch airstrikes against suspected terrorists living abroad, according to a Gallup poll. Only 28 percent oppose the idea.

But when the suspected terrorist is a U.S. citizen living abroad, opposition jumps to 52 percent, with 41 percent support. Two-thirds oppose the use of drones to launch airstrikes on American soil. And 71 percent oppose targeting an American in the U.S.

This isn’t really an inconsistency, although it seems that way at first.  If called to explain, Americans would distinguish between wartime operations abroad and law enforcement activity at home.  Just as very few Americans would support military operations on US soil, even against terrorists, the use of war tactics would make for a very bad precedent even by law-enforcement agencies.  The fact that the wartime operations are controlled not by the Department of Defense but by the CIA wouldn’t do anything to dent that belief, especially since the CIA is barred from conducting operations in the US as well.  (The FBI runs counterterrorism and counter-espionage operations inside the US.)

The poll’s internals show an interesting effect, however.  About half of Americans claim to follow the issue of drone use somewhat or very closely, with an equal number (49%) not following it too closely or at all.  Rand Paul’s filibuster might have impacted those figures by making it more visible, but his stand on the issue didn’t do much to move the needle among those paying attention.  Across the board, those following the issue more closely were more likely to approve their use in each of the four parameters offered — abroad against foreigners, abroad against US citizens, domestically against foreign nationals, and domestically against US citizens suspected of terrorist activity.

Gallup concludes that Paul’s filibuster may not have been a game-changer at all:

Although it was Republican Sen. Paul who filibustered in protest of the potential or possible future use of drones in the U.S., rank-and-file Republicans across the country are actually more supportive of such actions than are independents or Democrats.

And, even with Paul’s effort to bring the issue of drones into the national spotlight during his 13-hour filibuster, less than half of Americans are paying very or somewhat close attention to news about the U.S government’s use of drones. Americans who are following the news at least somewhat closely are slightly more likely to say the government should use drones in each of the four circumstances.

 


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Can we program all drones to kill and release them in Iran’s airspace?

Archivarix on March 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM

I already miss the America we used to have.

avagreen on March 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Anyone who thinks that drones flying around blowing stuff up over here is ok needs their head examined. Over there? Eh, it’s a way to prosecute the war on terror without putting any Americans in harm’s way.

LukeinNE on March 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I already miss the America we used to have.

avagreen on March 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

It died on November 6, 2012…

Khun Joe on March 25, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Police helicopters and aircraft have been used for years. I grew up in a town with 2 police helicopters–making it quite difficult to set up outdoor keggers (and then a subsequent successful getaway) when we were unruly teenagers. Drones are merely an extension of that type of overhead surveillance. Police helicopters had no interdiction capability (ie, were unarmed) however, they had one helluva spotlight.

ted c on March 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Nobody cares about blowing up terrorists in foreign countries. If you say you do you are lying to yourself. You don’t care because it doesn’t have any negative effect on your life. Blowing them up here though could possibly have an effect. A potentially fatal one.

Despite all the awful things about the Obama presidency, I do appreciate the use of drones to kill vermin abroad. An appropriate use of my tax dollars.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Whether Paul’s filibuster brought attention to the use of drones or not, one simple fact remains. When it comes to the “rules” of warfare, there is no precedent for the use of drones. No legal parameters as to when a strike can be made. And what happens when some foreign nation takes out an American citizen on the streets of NYC by drone attack? This is all uncharted territory.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

I already miss the America we used to have.
avagreen on March 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

What you miss didn’t exist in your lifetime.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM

less than half of Americans are paying very or somewhat close attention

add in some that are and you get the 51% that voted for stay-the-course to economic ruin.

RedInMD on March 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Gallup concludes that Paul’s filibuster may not have been a game-changer at all

As usual, wishful thinking is substituted for reality when the left “reports” things…

landlines on March 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM

About half of Americans claim to follow the issue of drone use somewhat or very closely, with an equal number (49%) not following it too closely or at all.

“Hey, what time is Dancing With The Stars on?”

Bitter Clinger on March 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

What you miss didn’t exist in your lifetime.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Don’t remind me. It really hits hard whenever I go to antique stores or small towns where time seems to have stood still. I know that no decade past the 50′s was all that and a bag of chips…

But I really, REALLY would have liked to have seen modern America in her prime. When divorce and illegitimate children were rare, teenagers kept their pants zipped or paid dearly, Hollywood had imposed limits on smut-peddling (the horror!) and shipping jobs off to Asian peasants was literally not an option. (gosh, how ever did we survive?)

At least I was fortunate enough to grow up during the 90′s, which was a pretty decent “last hurrah” for everything from culture to cartoons.

MelonCollie on March 25, 2013 at 12:25 PM

This isn’t really an inconsistency, although it seems that way at first.

I feel like a parent at the back of my third-grader’s classroom.

Dusty on March 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Ed,

Why do you almost always post a partial cartoon???

POST THE FULL DAMN CARTOON!!!!

E9RET on March 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Sorry to threadjack a bit here but

But I really, REALLY would have liked to have seen modern America in her prime. When divorce and illegitimate children were rare, teenagers kept their pants zipped or paid dearly, Hollywood had imposed limits on smut-peddling (the horror!) and shipping jobs off to Asian peasants was literally not an option. (gosh, how ever did we survive?)

MelonCollie on March 25, 2013 at 12:25 PM

When exactly was that prime?

It reminds we of a joke that Louis C.K does about time machines…

segasagez on March 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

“Hey, what time is Dancing With The Stars on?”

Bitter Clinger on March 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Hey, you don’t realize the stress low information parasites are under these days. We are between seasons for Honey Boo Boo but they have to choose between a Kardashian-free Dancing with the Stars and Myrtle Manor’s trailer park antics. That’s like Sophie’s choice to these people!

You think they really care about drones?

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 12:36 PM

OT/ but it looks like the little Princesses Sasha and Malia are at the Atlantis resort for Spring break. It must be nice to be royalty…

sandee on March 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Does anyone really think public opinion is going to matter to our self-anointed rulers in Washington, the state houses, or even mayoral mansions? Bloomberg is already of the opinion our God-given Constitutional rights no longer mean anything.

The only reason we’re having these kinds of polls and discussions is because government one day plans to make this a condition of our lives. Drones may not be armed at first, but one day they will ‘need’ to be. After all, who in his right mind would want to send in a cop to risk his life when a drone can do the same thing to take out a criminal?

And by ‘criminal’, I mean someone who doesn’t toe the accepted government line, not the kind who will hold you at gunpoint to steal your wallet.

Liam on March 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Ed,
Why do you almost always post a partial cartoon???
POST THE FULL #%\! CARTOON!!!!

E9RET on March 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

LOL … how to win friends & influence people.

KS Rex on March 25, 2013 at 12:43 PM

OT/ but it looks like the little Princesses Sasha and Malia are at the Atlantis resort for Spring break. It must be nice to be royalty…

sandee on March 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I don’t give a rat’s behind where the mini-moochers are. I do care about the entourage that goes along with them at taxpayer expense. We (supposedly) can’t afford to continue White House tours at $18K/week and these worthless stupid brats get to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax money for Spring Break? Wonder if the rat-eared devil’s spokesperson is going to be asked about this at the daily propaganda briefing.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

When exactly was that prime?

It reminds we of a joke that Louis C.K does about time machines…

segasagez on March 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

50′s. The one-two punch in the late 60′s of the social upheaval caused by the Civil Rights movement (which cannot in any way be blamed on blacks) and the rise of hippy culture did a number on us. Sadly enough, it proved that America is not exempt from the rule of nations pulling off incredible feats in wartime…only to not know what to do with themselves immediately after.

And Louis can go surfing in the shark tank at my local zoo.

MelonCollie on March 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

LOL … how to win friends & influence people.

KS Rex

Well, yeah, I guess……to quote Linus from Charlie Brown “I’m never quite so stupid as when I’m being clever” ;-)

E9RET on March 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM

I’ll start worrying about domestic drone attacks right after the LAPD starts flying helicopter gunships. Of course I was more of an Airwolf man myself.

BohicaTwentyTwo on March 25, 2013 at 12:53 PM

The only thing that could start to pull us out of this dive is for the general public to start to get informed and involved. Unfortunately, as we sink deeper and deeper people are looking for more distractions from the entertainment industry. Much of this nation is doomed.

Deano1952 on March 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

The only thing that could start to pull us out of this dive is for the general public to start to get informed and involved. Unfortunately, as we sink deeper and deeper people are looking for more distractions from the entertainment industry. Much of this nation is doomed.
Deano1952 on March 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

They are informed and involved; by the Dems and for the Dems.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Nobody cares about blowing up terrorists in foreign countries. If you say you do you are lying to yourself. You don’t care because it doesn’t have any negative effect on your life. Blowing them up here though could possibly have an effect. A potentially fatal one.

Despite all the awful things about the Obama presidency, I do appreciate the use of drones to kill vermin abroad. An appropriate use of my tax dollars.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Don’t you think it’d be better, instead of killing terrorists along with innocents (collateral damage), to capture and interrogate them for intelligence instead (granted, this practice does put our forces in greater danger of harm)?

[As much as I loathed GWB, I agreed with this superior strategy of prosecuting the (correctly named) War Against Islamofascists ...]

ShainS on March 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Khun Joe on March 25, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Are you sure it wasn’t November of 2008?

Cindy Munford on March 25, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Polls- shmolls……

Let me ask the questions, and I’ll get you different poll results. All these polls are, are Big Media conditioning. The more polls out there about drones, the more normalized they will become for Americans. No different than the culture of one man sodomizing another man. The more you put it out there, the more normal it appears- then people soon begin to yammer about equality of a deviated norm.

Poll the guy on the street if he would want a President G. Bush to be in charge of Drone surveillance -watching Mooslum Americans – and the outrage would be deafening – and would certainly drown out the crowd who, are so mistakenly naive about sacrificing their Liberty for Security.

Trust your Bureaucrats like Incompetano ? I think not..

FlaMurph on March 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Don’t you think it’d be better, instead of killing terrorists along with innocents (collateral damage), to capture and interrogate them for intelligence instead (granted, this practice does put our forces in greater danger of harm)?

[As much as I loathed GWB, I agreed with this superior strategy of prosecuting the (correctly named) War Against Islamofascists ...]

ShainS on March 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM

If we could capture them with drones? Sure. Protecting a few “innocents” is certainly not worth putting our forces in greater danger.

I’m not sure that drone strikes are much less effective at protecting the homeland than capture and interrogate. I can see how that would be a logical conclusion though.

I’m really quite partial to just killing them from afar.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 1:46 PM

I already miss the America we used to have.
avagreen on March 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

What you miss didn’t exist in your lifetime.

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM

And, how do you know this?

Mindreading?

avagreen on March 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM

But I really, REALLY would have liked to have seen modern America in her prime. When divorce and illegitimate children were rare, teenagers kept their pants zipped or paid dearly, Hollywood had imposed limits on smut-peddling (the horror!) and shipping jobs off to Asian peasants was literally not an option. (gosh, how ever did we survive?)

Ergo.
I grew up in the 50′s and 60′s. Sad that someone isn’t aware of that time and can be so flippant about those memories.
*really sad*

avagreen on March 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

and domestically against US citizens suspected of terrorist activity

I think there might be a significant number of people who would object to blowing up US citizens, in the US, who are suspected of anything. It is still customary to confirm that you have the right person, prior to execution.

iurockhead on March 25, 2013 at 3:38 PM

I grew up in the 50′s and 60′s. Sad that someone isn’t aware of that time and can be so flippant about those memories.
*really sad*

avagreen on March 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Even more frightening is that the records of those times are vanishing.

Our biggest reminders are older people, small rural towns, and old publications in that order. Another couple decades and there will literally be nobody alive who doesn’t remember a time when American culture wasn’t off it’s collective nut. This is nothing short of outright terrifying.

MelonCollie on March 25, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Sugar Land, Texas–July 4, 2019:

A house here exploded this morning after being targeted by a Hellfire missile shot from a Predator drone controlled by the Imperial Air Force. The house was believed to be occupied by the fugitive terrorists, former Senator Rand Paul and his father, former Congressman Ron Paul, who escaped justice after their conviction of insubordination to His Imperial Majesty Barack Hussein the First. The Imperial Police continue to seek co-conspirators Ted Cruz and Jan Brewer, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

Steve Z on March 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

Even if the government is restricted howinhell are you figuring to prevent corporations, advertising agencies, credit bureaus, bog standard nanny-busybodies, hobbyists, or (of course) criminals from operating drones? I fear privacy will become an illusion within the decade. And there’s not much of anything we can do about it.

{^_^}

herself on March 26, 2013 at 5:17 AM