Monday, January 9, 2012

Death From the Skies

The Washington Post back on 19 Dec took on the Obama administration's drone war.  This program may be 100% legal, 100% necessary, and we'd be stupid NOT to do it. 

That said, try this on for size.  How would we feel if another nation took similar actions against us: designating some target person or persons for violent, unannounced death from the skies, just because they thought assassination was the appropriate action?

Secrecy Defines Obama's Drone War (Karen DeYoung)
Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory.

The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified.

The administration has said that its covert, targeted killings with remote-controlled aircraft in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and potentially beyond are proper under both domestic and international law. It has said that the targets are chosen under strict criteria, with rigorous internal oversight.

It has parried reports of collateral damage and the alleged killing of innocents by saying that drones, with their surveillance capabilities and precision missiles, result in far fewer mistakes than less sophisticated weapons.

Yet in carrying out hundreds of strikes over three years - resulting in an estimated 1,350 to 2,250 deaths in Pakistan - it has provided virtually no details to support those assertions.

Who's the impartial arbiter, the judge, to say whether the claims of the death-dealers are legitimate?

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