Drone Killings — The Obama Administration Says “Trust Us” by Dennis Kucinich

Dandelion Salad

by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
Washington, DC
Nov 26, 2012

Drones protest by Codepink at Senator Feinstein's home

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who recently led 26 Members of Congress in a letter asking the President of the United States to explain the legal justification for targeted killings, today released the following statement:

“The CIA and the military use drones to drop bombs on our suspected enemies and no one denies that innocent people have been killed in the process. The only debate is how many.

“It is hard to know how many civilians have been killed, in part because we don’t always know who we are killing. The CIA conducts certain strikes called ‘signature strikes’ in which an individual is targeted based on ‘defining characteristics.’ Even more troubling, our government defines ‘any male of fighting age’ as a combatant in order to gain more latitude in whom it can target for such strikes.

“The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that the United States has killed as many as 1,105 innocent civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia alone. This includes as many as 213 children. According to The New York Times, the United Nations will establish a unit to investigate American drone strikes next year.

“The current Administration’s response to questions about this program has been ‘trust us.’ The White House claims that the strikes are legal, but refuses to provide the memos which it uses as its legal framework. In addition to Congress’ responsibility to provide checks and balances, Congress has a responsibility to defend our national security. Many nations around the world are developing comparable drone technology and I think we would all agree that a foreign attack on American soil in which American civilians were killed would be an act of war.

“A recent article in The New York Times revealed that there is no clear set of rules determining the use of targeted killings – the attacks are left to the judgment of the President and his advisors – and that this current Administration agrees that whether the attacks are appropriate is a matter of trust.

“According to this article in the Times the Administration rushed to create a legal framework before the new year out of fear that a different administration might be in charge. The Times quotes one official explaining, ‘There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands.’

“The reality is that such rules already exist under the laws of war and international law. The United States conducts attacks in foreign countries that we are not at war with and in which innocent civilians are killed. We are creating a dangerous precedent for other nations, but the only established explanation is that this Administration only kills people when it is absolutely necessary. Yet even this Administration acknowledges it wouldn’t trust this system if this Administration wasn’t in control.

“How long can a democracy last with a foreign policy based on assassination without oversight?”

“Thus far, it’s been about ten years.”


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6 thoughts on “Drone Killings — The Obama Administration Says “Trust Us” by Dennis Kucinich

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  4. There is nothing else that fills me with as much dismay as the use of drones to kill people in the way that the U.S. is doing today. I was pretty upset when tasers were adopted by police forces all over the U.S. I’ve been discouraged and disheartened by the way the U.S. has used torture so extensively. I’ve been depressed about the use or extraordinary rendition and the aggressive wars that the U.S. has been waging. I’m still outraged about the shock and awe attack on Baghdad when over 100,000 Iraqis were killed in an air strike. Yet using drones to kill people is the worst, absolutely the worst atrocity that the U.S. has committed in recent years. Thunder crashed overhead in our classroom when I was teaching the other day,startling me. A Syrian student came up to me while I was erasing the board as the class was leaving, and said, this is what we endure with the explosions that have been occurring, and it’s not just a thunderstorm, either. I can only imagine the horror that people feel who see a drone approaching or hear the bombs falling. It’s murder from the sky. It’s illegal. and it’s wrong. Obama is a major war criminal for ordering these murders.

  5. “How long can a democracy last with a foreign policy based on assassination without oversight?”
    Longer than our constitutional republic lasted.

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