"At least two of those five points appear to be half-truths at best. In both Yemen and Pakistan, the CIA is allowed to launch a strike based on the target’s “signature” — that is, whether he appears to look and act like a terrorist. As senior U.S. officials have repeatedly confirmed, intelligence analysts don’t even have to know the target’s name, let alone whether he’s planning to attack the U.S. In some cases, merely being a military-aged male at the wrong place at the wrong time is enough to justify your death."
Noah Shachtman, Obama Finally Talks Drone War, But It’s Almost Impossible to Believe Him via Wired.com
As the Bureau of Investigative Journalism notes, Obama told CNN that a terror suspect had to pass five tests before the administration would allow him to be taken out by a drone. “Drones are one tool that we use, and our criteria for using them is very tight and very strict,” the president said.
1 “It has to be a target that is authorised by our laws.”
2 “It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative.”
3 “It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.”
4 “We’ve got to make sure that in whatever operations we conduct, we are very careful about avoiding civilian casualties.”
5 “That while there is a legal justification for us to try and stop [American citizens] from carrying out plots … they are subject to the protections of the Constitution and due process.”
At least two of those five points appear to be half-truths at best. In both Yemen and Pakistan, the CIA is allowed to launch a strike based on the target’s “signature” — that is, whether he appears to look and act like a terrorist. As senior U.S. officials have repeatedly confirmed, intelligence analysts don’t even have to know the target’s name, let alone whether he’s planning to attack the U.S. In some cases, merely being a military-aged male at the wrong place at the wrong time is enough to justify your death.
Great commentary. However, However, it’s not from the two out of the five, but Obama’s drone policy violates all of the above.
1) Obama To Sign Bill Authorizing 30,000 SPY Drones To Fly Over America [source]—sure it is signed by Obama, but HELLO, this contradicts with the Bill of Rights (source snipped).
Moreover, the president’s claim offends the spirit and letter of the Constitution and shreds the global laws of war. Our founders were eager to curb the prerogative of kings to wage war and foreign adventures. That is why the Constitution gave Congress the power to declare war. Yet the president now claims the right to attack anywhere in the world in an apparently endless war against terrorism.
The argument, of course, is that we are at war with al-Qaeda’s terrorists — one that Congress authorized — and thus the president is free to track them down and attack them anywhere in the world, even if they are American citizens. To enforce this, the U.S. has Special Operations forces in some 60 to 75 countries and has unleashed drones in at least five.
The administration is at pains to suggest that no one is targeted for death until after extensive review, internal checks and balances and administrative “due process” of a sort. But this rationale is refuted by what we know from the administration’s own limited releases of information. Officials distinguish between “personality strikes” — which are targeted at named operatives — and “signature strikes” — which are triggered by evidence of allegedly threatening activity by unidentified persons. Not surprisingly, the latter have been notorious for the “collateral damage” — innocent civilians — who have been casualties.
Most Americans support the drones — after all they’re going after terrorists. But the administration is claiming the right to charge, try and execute an American citizen without a hearing or a trial and conviction. The Constitution, Attorney General Holder argues, “guarantees due process, not judicial process.” But once more, this tramples the entire framework of the Bill of Rights, which was devised to limit the power of the state to lock up political dissenters without an independent tribunal.
2) & 3) Tell me, then—how is an 16-year-old American citizen, Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, killed by a CIA-led drone strike, a threat?
4) & 5) A few days ago, I posted/reblogged the casualties of civilians killed in Yemen and Pakistan here and here.
Yep for #5, you just contradicted your statements with your practice.