Public protest, critical media coverage and Congressional hearings are contributing to what the New York Times calls a “sharp decline” in US drone attacks during recent weeks. (New York Times, April 7, 2013)
In Pakistan, the attacks have dropped from 117 in 2010, to 64 in 2011, 46 in 2012, and eleven so far this year. In Yemen there were 42 in 2012, but none since January of this year.
A negotiated settlement over Afghanistan is likely to include a de facto cessation of drone strikes on Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan, assuming the US gives up its hope of bombing the Taliban into submission.
A majority of Americans continue to favor the use of drones, because they reduce US casualties and costs, signaling the need for greater public outreach efforts by peace activists. A forthcoming movie from Brave New Foundation will prove useful as an educational tool, but nothing will turn the tide more rapidly than Congressional hearings tied to specific proposals linking any funding to greater scrutiny, transparency, accountability, and a shift of the drone policy from the CIA where it is protected by a cloak of secrecy.