Congress is holding hearings this week on the legality of the US government’s drone warfare program. Conducted by the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the hearings will examine the CIA’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly known as drones – to fire missiles at suspected militants in Pakistan and elsewhere.
While the Bush administration had an active drone warfare program, US reliance on drones increased greatly after President Obama took office. According to Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation, who have carried out a study of the drone program, the Bush administration carried out a total of 45 drone strikes in eight years, whereas the Obama administration carried out 53 strikes in 2009 alone. The pace of such attacks quickened even further in 2010.