by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
May 31, 2012
Drone Killings a Stain Upon Our Nation
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has opposed the use of combat drones against suspected terrorists abroad since the first known attack in 2004. In February 2006, he asked the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to suspend the use of Predator drones citing the “high toll in innocent civilian life.” In the 111th Congress, he sponsored a bill to prohibit the extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizens abroad in response to revelations that the Administration included U.S. citizens on its targeted killing list. Today, he is leading a growing number of Members of Congress to demand the President’s legal justifications for drone strikes.
“The New York Times recently revealed a series of stunning revelations about the secretive U.S. drone campaign abroad. 1) President Obama personally authorizes each drone strike. 2) The White House continues to fail to provide its legal rationale for the killings which include Americans and civilians. 3) Any male of fighting age killed by a drone is automatically assumed to be a militant. At the same time,The Washington Post has reported that our use of drones in Yemen has actually strengthened Al-Qaeda’s recruiting efforts and generating sympathy for our enemies.
“When Congress passed the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, it did not authorize endless war against countries we are not at war with. These drone strikes are being conducted in the name of our national security and yet Congress and the American people have not been provided with the legal justification for such strikes. The use of drones must be subject to the same legal constrains and oversight as any other weapon.
“These attacks undermine the morals, values and the strategic goals of the United States. The fact that they are conducted with complete impunity and with no accountability threatens to set a dangerous precedent that could unravel the very laws and international standards the U.S. helped to create. Even the most ardent supporter of the current President should consider the precedent created by granting the President the power to circumvent the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” said Kucinich.
Congressman Kucinich is currently inviting his colleagues to join him in writing to President Obama to request “the targeting criteria for ‘signature’ strikes (drone strikes where the identity of the person killed is unknown); mechanisms used by the CIA and JSOC to ensure that such killings are legal; the nature of the follow-up that is conducted when civilians are killed or injured; and the mechanisms that ensure civilian casualty numbers are collected, tracked and analyzed.” The letter, endorsed by Amnesty International, has already been signed by nine members of Congress.
See a copy of the letter circulating in Congress here.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that at least 2,292 people have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. The Bureau estimates that of that number, over 350 are civilians. A July 2009 Brookings Institution report stated ten civilians die for every one suspected militant from U.S. drone strikes. Yet another study by the New American Foundation concluded that out of 114 drone attacks in Pakistan, at least 32% of those killed by the strikes were civilians.
May 31, 2012 by DJKucinich
“Gore Vidal called it ‘perpetual war for perpetual peace.’ The Administration’s unrestricted use of drones has taken us into undeclared wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somali, Sudan and who knows where else, destroying not only alleged militants but making a direct hit on international law and the U.S. Constitution.
“Drone strikes are killing militants now identified as males of fighting age. What are the rules? Trust us. What are the legal justifications? Trust us. Haven’t 350 innocent civilians been killed? Trust us, we’re told.
“No transparency, no accountability and until now, no Congress. The Constitution requires Congress to weigh in and demand information and legal justification for drone strikes. That is what my letter to the Administration seeks.
“Drone strikes absent a Constitutional basis sanctions the wholesale slaughter of innocents.
“One nation’s drones over another nation’s air space is an act of war.
“With 50 nations exploring the development of drones, a $100 billion business, we cannot permit this nation to further incite ‘perpetual war for perpetual peace.'”
May 31, 2012 by PressTVGlobalNews
US assassination drone attacks: controversial, and against international law. It’s been branded as targeted killings, not that the targets (should be targeting) have been successful: In Pakistan: a 10 to 1 ratio: That’s 10 civilians killed for every militant. And after the US president admitted for the first time this past year that the US was involved, now news has surfaced of his direct involvement: In this news analysis, we will examine this controversial program, and whether his direct involvement as the decision maker makes him a war criminal.