One of the most controversial aspects of U.S. foreign policy received mere seconds of discussion in the 90-minute final presidential debate.
“We already know President Obama’s position on this,” said moderator Bob Schieffer. He turned to Mitt Romney. “What is your position on the use of drones?”
“I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world,” Romney responded. “The president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.”
Romney agrees with the president, and so do most Americans, but majorities in almost every other country disapprove of drone strikes, according to the Pew Research Center. Drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia have damaged America’s reputation in strategically important countries.
Critics argue the drone strikes are an overextension of executive power, kill too many civilians, and breed more terrorism. Proponents, including Obama and Romney, say the drone strikes are necessary to prevent terrorism. The CIA recently proposed to expand the strike program into other regions.
In June Slate published a map, based on data from the New America Foundation, showing the locations and kill estimates of reported drone strikes in Pakistan, where most of the drone strikes occur. Since that map was published, the media have reported 22 more, for a total of 284. The map above includes these additional strikes.
Update: A bug in this map on Friday showed extremely high estimated kill counts for non-militants in the rollover tooltip. The tooltips have since been corrected. Thank you to Slate readers who alerted us to this problem.