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The debate over the use of drones falls into three paradigms: legal, practical and moral. The panel hosted on Wednesday by the Bi-Partisan Policy Center (BPC) followed this pattern.
A crucial problem is lack of transparency. The Obama administration needs to prove that what they are doing is lawful. So far they have not succeeded. Who is making the decisions? What are the legal standards? Who are the targets and why? Restricted access to White House legal memos on the drone program inhibits Congress from constructing an adequate legal framework and from conducting oversight.
No other nation has publicly agreed with our drone program. To others, the US appears indifferent to civilian casualties. The perception of America as ruthless undermines our legitimacy as a world power.
NYU grad student Josh Begley is behind two of the more successful attempts to insert the drone debate into media coverage: an app called Drone+, banned by Apple, which would alert users each time the U.S. carries out a drone strike, and include the death toll. This week, Begley fired up @dronestream, a Twitter timeline of every documented U.S. drone strike from 2002-2012.
14 Dec 2012
The feed is said to use data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism,
This article also references the Living Under Drones report, "which compiled over 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts on drone strikes in Pakistan."
Warfare is no stranger to world history. It has become a byproduct of life itself, though is becoming less of a presence as greater activities emerge, i.e. new developing markets, scientific research, and exponentially growing technologies.
U.S. anti-war activists and stockholders of Boeing have joined forces in opposition to the company’s construction of drones being used for imperialist war mongering. In their show of opposition, they pointed out not only the thousands of lives being decimated as a result of drone strikes from Yemen to Afghanistan, but also the millions of dollars being wasted in the construction of these killer drones, rather than being spent on more important things like our education system.
Hundreds of U.K. citizens have taken up the cause against drone warfare as well. Recently over 600 activists came together and marched in opposition to what they deemed as “drone sharing” between the U.K. and U.S. governments and military. Not to mention opposition to their own govt’s role in drone strikes throughout the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
B. J. Murphy
Our blind faith in technology combined with a false sense of infallible righteousness continues unabated. Reuters correspondent David Rohde recently wrote:
“The Obama administration’s covert drone program is on the wrong side of history. With each strike, Washington presents itself as an opponent of the rule of law, not a supporter. Not surprisingly, a foreign power killing people with no public discussion, or review of who died and why, promotes anger among Pakistanis, Yemenis and many others.”
A special report from the Council on Foreign Relations last month, “Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies,” quotes “a former senior military official” saying, “Drone strikes are just a signal of arrogance that will boomerang against America.” The report notes that, “The current trajectory of U.S. drone strike policies is unsustainable … without any meaningful checks — imposed by domestic or international political pressure — or sustained oversight from other branches of government, U.S. drone strikes create a moral hazard because of the negligible risks from such strikes and the unprecedented disconnect between American officials and personnel and the actual effects on the ground.”