Drone use in Middle East is true source of tension

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

The current riots in the Middle East supposedly arose because of a film trailer called Innocence of Muslims. The film itself did serve as the trigger, but to assume that this general dislike of America arose solely from one shoddy YouTube video is naive at best.

Most of the protesters haven't even seen the video, and many in the Muslim world lack the internet access to view it. To prevent future expression of mass rioting, U.S. foreign policy makers must look at their governmental actions throughout the Muslim world, rather than simply pin the blame on what finally triggered this catastrophe.

One of the main foreign policies that has built up anger throughout the region is the use of drones. Drone strikes have been useful in killing militants and terrorists, but they also cause collateral damage, and the sound of a drone strikes fear and anger into those who simply want to live their life peacefully below.

The U.S. used to have a dual-key system — where the U.S. would seek the country's permission before launching the drone — but over the past four years, the U.S. launched strikes without seeking the expressed permission of the nations where drone attacks were planned. These actions by the U.S. government are not surprising, considering President Barack Obama's previous actions concerning the expansions of the Patriot Act and of the Transportation Security Administration in power and scope, and signing of the National Defense Authorization Act into law.

This infringement on the sovereignty of Arabs, Pakistanis, and North Africans is the driving force behind the anti-American rioting in the Middle East. The YouTube film merely served as a trigger, and is not a causal factor. To improve the relationship between Middle East and West, the U.S. must respect the sovereignty of foreign nations and respect people's right to self-rule. Moreover, it must also recognize the deaths of civilians from the use of drone strikes.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates hundreds of civilian deaths from drone strikes, including 176 children.

Denying these unnecessary deaths does little to improve the image of the U.S., and the advertisements the Obama administration is broadcasting in the Middle East that condemn Innocence of Muslims will do nothing to quell the situation. It's time for the administration to stop shifting responsibility from their foreign anti-terrorism policies to a tasteless low-quality film.