blue bits. red rocks.


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

…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

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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

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