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American public has few qualms with drone strikes, poll finds

President Obama's aggressive campaign of drone strikes has generated controversy overseas and among terrorism experts. But Americans seem fine with it, according to a Monitor/TIPP poll.

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Protesters burn a representation of a US flag in Multan, Pakistan, Thursday to condemn a drone attack in the Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan that killed Taliban leader Waliur Rehman.

M. Abbass/AP

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When a US drone strike last week killed a top Taliban leader in Pakistan, critics of the strikes that have become a staple of President Obama’s counterterrorism policy were quick to condemn it.

The killing of Waliur Rehman in the North Waziristan region on May 29 would only make reconciliation talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government – a US priority – more difficult to convene, some critics said. Others said such strikes infuriate local populations and are a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremists.

But the American public appears to be unmoved by such arguments. A new Monitor/TIPP poll finds that a firm majority of Americans – 57 percent – support the current level of drone strikes targeting “Al Qaeda targets and other terrorists in foreign countries.” Another 23 percent said the use of drones for such purposes should increase. Only 11 percent said the use of drones should decrease.

 
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