To sum up, the Obama administration hasn’t rigorously evaluated whether its drone strikes are helping or harming national security; it is setting dangerous precedents; it isn’t doing enough to prevent proliferation; and it is undermining democracy with excessively secretive practices that could also undermine the program’s long-term efficacy.
When These Experts Savage U.S. Drone Policy, It’s Time to Worry ☀
Why US drones are now operating in Iraq ☀
"The reason that some of those aircraft are armed is primarily for force protection reasons now that we have introduced into the country some military advisers whose objective will be to operate outside the confines of the embassy," the Defense Department’s press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, told a Pentagon press conference Friday.
…the memo turns out to be a slapdash pastiche of legal theories — some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law — that was clearly tailored to the desired result. Perhaps the administration held out so long to avoid exposing the thin foundation on which it based such a momentous decision. The main theory that the government says allows it to kill American citizens, if they pose a threat, is the “public authorities justification,” a legal concept that permits governments to take actions in emergency situations that would otherwise break the law. It’s why fire trucks can break the speed limit and police officers can fire at a threatening gunman. But it’s a dangerous concept if expanded because it could be used to justify all kinds of government misdeeds, especially since Congress has never explicitly authorized an exception for official killing in this kind of circumstance, as the memo acknowledges.
A Thin Rationale for Drone Killings ☀
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
So That's Why They Kept the Drone Kill Memo Secret ☀
In the end, the memo admits that calling something a war isn’t good enough; the targeted victim has to have been an imminent threat to the United States. But who gets to decide whether he or she was that? Why, whoever does the killing of course. And what happens if nobody ever even makes an unsupported assertion to that effect? Nothing, of course.
This is not the rule of law. This is savage brute force in minimal disguise. I don’t want to see any more of these memos. I want to see the video footage of the drone murders on a television. I want to see law professors and revolving-door State Department / human rights group hacks argue that dead children fall under the public authority justification.
When drones fall from the sky ☀
More than 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001, a record of calamity that exposes the potential dangers of throwing open American skies to drone traffic, according to a year-long Washington Post investigation.
Five killed in Yemen drone strike ☀
A suspected American drone in Yemen’s south has targeted a car reportedly carrying al-Qaeda fighters, killing all five passengers, Yemeni security officials said.
The Drone Memo's Hack Author Should Be In Prison. Instead, He'll Be a Judge. ☀
I have no doubt that David Barron, who is a professor at the very fancy Harvard Law School and held the impressive title of Former Acting Chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and who furthermore is President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, did his very bestest with his mad legal skillz to come up with a “kill ‘em all, let Obama sort ‘em out” memo he could be proud of.
Still, this topic prompts two questions:
What kind of human being would accept such an assignment? Did anyone check for a belly button?
How badly would such a person have to mangle the English language, logic, Constitutional law and legal precedent, in order to extract the justification for mass murder he was asked to produce?
But it remains the case that the sooner we start thinking farsightedly about the international drone norms that we want, the more we can do to bring them about. The best chance for future success would require us to put constraints on American behavior before other countries match our technology. That would create a short-term disadvantage, but it could pay huge long-term dividends. Instead, the United States seems intent on developing weaponized drones that also operate autonomously.
Lethal Drones: Coming Soon to Every Country That Wants Them ☀
A GNT creation ©2007–2014