Former President Obama made the drawdown of active US military involvement in Iraq
and Afghanistan a centerpiece of his national policy. Critics maintain he simply
transitioned open war to covert war through the use of drone strikes. To be successful,
drone operations require an extremely high level of actionable intelligence. Critics assert
the drain on intelligence resources for drone warfare degrades the quality of intelligence
generation elsewhere. Do you believe these are valid criticisms or political posturing? Why
or why not?
Dakota’s response:
I think that the claim of intelligence resources being drained on drone strikes is absolutely
ridiculous. Utilizing a drone strike would not degrade intelligence that could be used elsewhere.
Intelligence gathering is all encompassing. For example, intelligence is gathered about a known
ISIS training camp in the Middle East. The location has been determined and further intelligence
gathering confirms that this is where all new IED ISIS recruits come to train. The first sentence is
enough to carry out a drone strike. There is no strain on the intelligence gathering, coordinating a
drone strike is a matter of receiving the intelligence. Coordinating a drone strike would cause no
more strain than the FBI going after a serial rapist rather than a serial killer.
I think a drone strike is the safest way for the United States military to carry out operations
against terrorists without the risk of losing any Americans. Of course, the morality issue that
drone strikes carry in regards to collaterally damaging civilians is of concern.
There are also unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) such as the Reaper which is a surveillance
drone but can also be equipped with ordnance. These Reapers are controlled by pilots that are
thousands of miles away (United States Air Force, 2015). They are exceptional for intelligence
Kierra’s Response:
In my own opinion I do think that for drone operations, they do need an extremely high level of
intelligence because if you operate the drones without any good intelligence then your results
that you are looking for won’t be any good. When going overseas, you need some good high tech
equipment so that you get everything that you need and more from what you are using. The
better your equipment is the better everything else will be. As Obama administration officials
have warned about the prolif- eration of drones, “If we want other nations to use these
technologies responsibly, we must use them responsibly.”4 (Zenko, 2013). When it comes to
drones they have become a critical thing overseas because it allows The U.S to spy and gain
valuable information for intelligence so they can have access to certain information in which
they will input it into their systems. Once they input all the other people that have access to it
will be able to see all the data that was put in the system. Another thing is that I don’t think that
drone warfare degrades the quality of intelligence because it’s so much information that you can
get out of drones and it can potentially help save something that needs to be saved.
Communication between government and the media during a crisis has often been
described as a love-hate relationship. The idea that “publicity is the oxygen of terrorist
groups” raises the question of how much terrorists influence media coverage. It has also
been stated that “the media and terrorists have a symbiotic relationship; they mutually
depend on each other and the terrorists manipulate the media to further their propaganda
war.” The constant repetition of the videos of the airliners striking the twin towers is cited
as an example of the freedom of the press advancing the cause of terrorists. It led to a
movement to prohibit showing of the videos by some. Are the criticisms valid? Is the
media a tool of terrorists?
Madelyne’s Response:
I would argue that media is in fact a tool of terrorists. Terrorists utilize the internet to
communicate and spread propaganda videos which often make their way from social media
platforms onto news broadcasts across the world. Terrorists specifically use online chat rooms to
share information, coordinate attacks, spread propaganda, raise funds, and recruit members.
Researchers are seeing an increased number of terrorist sites in the past decade which now
account for approximately 5,000 internet sites. The terrorist groups and members can further use
these sites as training grounds that offer things such as building bombs, surface to air missle
utilization, videos showing shootings of U.S. troops, and ways to sneak into Iraq from abroad.
The propaganda videos that we often see make their way through different media platforms offer
ways to recruit and fundraise for their groups. By liking, sharing, reposting, etc. we are helping
the terrorists in a way spread their cause across the world. It is reported that in Iraq these videos
are sometimes sold as video tapes that you can buy at video stores which are kept behind the
counter with other videos such as pornography.
Terrorists have further figured out ways to use media to communicate in the form of secret codes.
These codes are often times embedded into pictures posted by the members on social media
which can be accessed by other members with the knowledge and capability to decrypt the
message. This allows for a sort of secret communication to pass information and coordinate
attacks. With the help of all of this media access to make communicating easier and recruiting
possible through sharing and publicizing the terrorist groups work we have made the members
jobs very easy when it comes to not only getting their mission out in the world but also recruiting
and funding coming so easy from the large numbers of publicity from media platforms.
Danielle’s Response:
Hello everyone,
I happen to agree that the media can sometimes actually make a situation worse. Of course
everyone wants to know what is happening in their community, state, nation, and around the
world. However, I believe that there is sometimes too much attention placed on terrorist events.
As we know terrorists thrive on attention and spreading fear. Additionally, there are some
terrorist organizations which are trying to recruit to their cause. I feel like this relates to the more
recent topic of whether the world has become a more violent place or if we just hear about it
more due to technology and social media. With technology and social media the world has
become smaller, allowing information to quickly be spread.
There are often debates involving whether terrorists such as shooters should have their name
released. I happen to be on the side that they should not become famous for their crimes.
Knowing their name only adds additional hardships for their family. I find these criticisms to be
extremely valid. Especially as I’m sure we’ve all heard, different incidents where the media has
made situations seem more intense than it actually was by reporting from a biased angle. This too
also helps to instill fear in the public.
Showing events as they actually take place is important to the knowledge and awareness of the
citizens of the nation and anyone around the world. Without the media the general public would
have no idea about almost anything taking place. After events have occurred I feel it’s important
to stop showing content that would help the terrorists agenda. The only exception to the heavy
media coverage of events, which I feel is important, is in the case of a manhunt for a terrorist.
Such as after the Boston Marathon Bombings and the ensuing search. This is the only time I
believe there should be the use of names and descriptions of terrorists. However, this is not to
necessarily make them famous, but rather to ensure they are unable to escape justice by alerting
the public to their identity.

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