Drones Are Not Ethical And Effective | Naureen Shah | Oxford Union

Naureen Shah gives her argument against the use of drone warfare.
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Naureen Shah starts her talk by saying that the proposition go on about how advanced the weapon is but have failed to put forward any evidence that it is effective. She highlights that acts of terrorism happen every other week in Pakistan and uses a case of a mosque that was bombed and then a 2nd bombing took place killing all the rescuers leaving children lying in pools of blood. Will drone strikes be effective in reducing these types of attacks? She says there is no evidence that it does.
She goes on to say that some of these terrorists groups that were operating in the outer regions of Pakistan have now moved into the cities because they know that’s where drone strikes won’t work without heavy civilian casualties. Also Pakistan is strongly against the use of drone warfare and has passed a bill to stop it, yet the US government still continues to use drone strikes in Pakistan. She says how are the people supposed to truth their own government if they cannot keep promises of innocent people not being killed by drone warfare. It is detrimental to the democracy in Pakistan and in that sense it is ineffective to the people who live there. She concludes by saying that the continued use of drone warfare is ineffective for long term peace and stability in those countries where it is used.
Filmed on Thursday 25th April 2013

Naureen Shah is a lecturer in law at the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University School of Law, New York

The Union is the world’s most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. It has been established for 189 years, aiming to promote debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe.


  1. TheUmaragu on November 16, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    Mr. Abdullah,
    Instead of blaming others, if educated Pakistanis can address the fundamental reasons why Drones came about, the Drones can be shot down; These reasons are:
    (1) Non-state militants kill other and hide behind civilians.
    (2) Nation states consider the non-state militants as strategic assets and protect them.
    (3) Nation states are unable to control non-state militants who cross their border and kill.
    (4) Nation states pass on hard evidence to non-state militants

    Provide options.

  2. The HummerMeister on November 16, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    I wonder who she would send to war: Her son or a drone? 🙂

  3. Fancymanofthedeep on November 16, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    It’s all nice to talk abstractly but when the time comes to dealing with terroism, this side hasn’t got a clue.

  4. Terry O'Dowd on November 16, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Yep. An eye for an eye.
    That always works out really well.

  5. Kevin Mathew on November 16, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    You may be right regarding drone strikes in Pak. But is there any other solution? Pak has been repeatedly asked to act against terrorism, and has it yielded any results? you only get increased number terrorists and terror activities in Pak every time you help them. Its time that everyone realised Pak is not interested in fighting terror, or wasn’t interested ever in that case.

  6. TheUmaragu on November 16, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    Ms. Naureen Shah, like all other educated Pakistanis, is quite passionate about her country; Yet, she lacks any logic in discussing the lack of ethics in the use of drones. Why not discuss why the drones came into use to begin with? Jihadis kill others and hide behind common people. The Pakistani state is both unwilling and unable to stop these killers operating out of their country, even after taking billions as fireign aid; No one has to provide any evidence about its effectiveness.

  7. Zeev Kirsh on November 16, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    bollocks. if drones weren’t EFFECTIVE for the u.s. military, the u.s. miltiary would not be investing and increasing in the u.s. of drones for warfare for well over 40 years.

    human rights are a total mirage. terrorism is a total lie.

    no one in the military cares about ‘terrorism’ except insofar as the psychological idea of ‘terrorism’ can be weaponized by the cia , bbg, and other propoganda institutions to get the policies they want.

    one day, drones will be used for the most efficient commission of genocide ever in the history of man.

    drones will be FAR MORE effective at committing genocide in rural areas and spread out landscapes than nuclear weapons.

    nuclear weapons are good for blowing up concentrated cities.

    human being don’t only live in cities. massive regions contain human beings spread out over large regions too big to hit with nukes.

    drones will be used for more and more genocide.

    the ‘policy’ debate is garbage. the metrics are a joke. talking about ‘lies’ to show your version of truth is starting out with a false assumption, that the obvious lies being used reflect an underlying opposition of what is true.

    the u.s. metrics that used to measure and prove effectiveness to begin with are an obvious lie. that does not mean the idea that drones are ‘not effective’ carries even a SHRED of pragmatic truth.

    the history of the world is defined by warfare genocide and conquest. drones are just tools of better technology. they will be improved relentlessly and you have not seen anything yet.

    the likes of naureen shah will wish to god they never had asked for more ‘ethical’ and ‘precise’ drones because that is precisely what they are going to get. smarter and more capably precise drones. and it sure as hell won’t make a more ‘fair’ and ‘just’ world. the drones will just become far more relentlessly violent and perpetuating war.

    naureen is arguing , as do most peaceniks, against WAR itself. against the application of FORCE in total. she is not arguing against drones. she just doens’t know it.

  8. Don Silvey on November 16, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    How Effective religious brain-washings on these kids. Cant believe Ms Shaw dont understand that Drones are effective for USA. If we put men on ground they do what they did to Daniel Pearl.
    She is living example of how ineffective formal education is for kids brainwashed in Madarasas !
    Above all if anyone takes religion as set of rules to help others, they need to go back to kindergarten !!!!

  9. zenda40 on November 16, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    Let me guess, you want to blow me up..??

  10. zenda40 on November 16, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    There is no such thing as non-Muslim’s views or Muslim’s views. You dont have to follow any religion to realize if OBL or that Woolwich perpetrator was an extremist Muslim or a moderate Muslim.

    I dont believe in stereotyping. As I think that only a handful of Muslims are extremists, same goes that only a handful of westerner are greedy for resources, war-mongering, intolerant guys. And our elite is no better,look how our leaders and even our main clergy in Saudia are blowing the western leaders

  11. Tripleexel on November 16, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    America invaded Afghanistan to look for Bin Laden.. He died ages ago they got their justice lord knows what else they are doing there right now

  12. TrumanHW on November 16, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Wow. Some secret.

    Pakistan has such good rule of law… I don’t get why drones would be necessary.

  13. anikidwolfy on November 16, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    totally bad

  14. embran on November 16, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Naureen Shah – judging by name probably Pakistani, obviously will by biased against

  15. zenda40 on November 16, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    This guy nails it I think: /watch?v=cpt-web6N6Y

  16. TwoSevenZero on November 16, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    suicide bombers are ethical and halal…..

  17. zenda40 on November 16, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Taqiyya?! I as a Muslim support drone strike, what does that make me?

    Stop spewing your Islamophobic rant, and giving everything a religious undertone. Despite not agreeing with her completely, I still respect her opinion, and the points she make. She makes sense that that drone strikes are undermining democracy, and this could be a far bigger problem 20 years from now on. Will be we nuking whole Pakistan then?

    As a Pakistani, I sincerely believe that our govt. needs to come clean…contd

  18. Austin Mistretta on November 16, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    She doesn’t make a terrible case, but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive / tightly argued as Wittes’s

  19. Bud Fields on November 16, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    "or the nations who harbor them…" said President GW Bush. While I understand the concern you have for the people of Pakistan, their deaths are on the account of the terrorists Pakistan harbors, while they train prepare and carry out their terrorism across the world. If you want to decrease drone warfare, you might rather understand that changing your policies of harboring and inhabiting terrorists might be the best first way to diminish that warfare in your land. The evidence, however, indicates that Pakistan is really rather partial to those who foment world-wide terrorism. Do not imagine that Pakistan is without complicity and responsibility for the civilian casualties their government accepts as "necessary casualties". Interesting choice, but the world is not on your side here.

  20. zenda40 on November 16, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    contd 2.

    To my American, British friends, if you really want to solve this problem, plz help with reforming the education sector of Pakistan. Its an ideological war more than anything. We have to defeat this militant-version-Islam with a peaceful-version of Islam…which either you like or not DOES help millions of people.

    The moderate Muslims themselves have been the biggest victims of Islamist (100 times Muslim casualties, than non-Muslim casualties), so we gotto take them along.

  21. Sathya Dharma on November 16, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    We do not own this planet. Nor does the Vatican, the Banks, the governments, or anyone individual soul. Anyone saying otherwise is wrong. That is the truth. When America/CIA is bombing innocent people saying that they do so in order to fight terrorism, they become terrorist themselves. Governments, banks, religious institutions are panicking because they are loosing control of the people on this planet. So they create war to confuse us. That is what is really going on.

  22. zenda40 on November 16, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    And whether you like or not, religions do help millions of people to get morality. Either you can systematically educate them out of it, or you can risk alienating a vast majority of moderates.

    And as much I feel sorry for Daniel Pearl, I feel sorry for 40,000 of my countrymen who are the victims of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. So I have far more reasons to hate them. In fact I (and even Naureen Shah) are just as likely to get killed for being moderate Muslim than you so plz dont generalize. Peace.

  23. zenda40 on November 16, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    How about if I accuse you being an inconsiderate, devoid of morality for falsely accusing the speaker as a Madressa educated? Naureen Shah is a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute FYI.

    Even I dont agree with her, but I respect her POV…at least that’s what we do in civilized world

    I am a Pakistani Muslim, and I favor drone strikes cuz they are the least bad from other worst options. But I also believe that we need to win hearts and mind of peoples through education

  24. TheUmaragu on November 16, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Mr. Abdullah,
    Military presense that outrages Muslims is often allowed by Muslim rulers; So take it up with your Muslim ruler; Appears like a lame excuse to justify your addiction to violence.
    Stealing OL- again, who is asking Muslims to sell to the West; Sell to the Chinese who will consume any amount; It is a matter of trade that Muslim rulers conduct to lead a lavish life style.
    Bolstering Israel: Good excuse- there are 21 nations where Islam is the majority.Why can’t there be one for Jews.

  25. Don Silvey on November 16, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    *Above all if anyone takes religion as more than a set of rules to help others, they need to go back to kindergarten !!!!

  26. Ajitesh Property Dealer Lucknow on November 16, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    repair your pakistan first

  27. zenda40 on November 16, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    contd…clean about the drone program. It needs to admit its failure in governing FATA, and the risks associated with ground combat in FATA. It should then establish its writ with the help of droning out militants, as well as initiating development in the area to win the local support.

    Education, health, providing livelihood is just as important as getting rid of militants. Because its the lack of these basis services that help the cause of terrorists, and makes recruitment easier…cont 2

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