Bookmark and Share

 

Drones Make War Too Easy

By John B. QUIGLEY

September 27, 2011 "
McClatchy-Tribune" -- COLUMBUS -- Armed pilotless drone aircraft are the weapon of choice these days in our military forays into the Middle East.

President Obama approved use of drones in Libya last spring. He said they have “unique capabilities.” A target is identified through intelligence sources. The information is sent to the command center. Someone sitting in front of a computer screen fires a missile.

Drones can fly low. Gen. James Cartwright of the Joint Chiefs of Staff explained that for Libya, their “ability to get down lower” gave them better visibility, thereby getting a better bead on a target. And of course with no pilot the only risk is loss of the aircraft.

We are also now using drones in Yemen to target insurgents. In Pakistan we have been using them even longer.

But there is a downside. Drones, say critics, make war too easy. If a president doesn’t have to be concerned about putting our youth “in harm’s way,” it becomes much easier to go to war. Congress may lose control.

The information about the whereabouts of a “militant” may or may not be accurate. Last year the U.N. official responsible for tracking extrajudicial executions questioned the drone killings as arbitrary executions. When a drone attack occurs, typically the U.S. officials claim that those killed were “militants,” while local officials often claim that civilians were hit.

Killing without trial

Killing with drones means killing without a trial. But going back to the 1960s, the United States has signed on to human rights treaties that outlaw arbitrary killing. Drone killings skirt these safeguards. No indictment. No judge or jury. No defense.

But, says the Obama administration, in war one can kill without a trial. The drone killings are premised on the “militants” being participants in the “war on terror,” even though Obama avoids that Bush-era term.

If some other country were sending pilotless aircraft over Nebraska to shoot and kill people they regard as threats, the Nebraska citizenry might not be too happy. Negative reaction to our drone attacks has been strongest in Pakistan, where drones are regarded as a terror weapon. Residents of certain regions in Pakistan say they never know when a missile might fall on them out of the sky.

John B. Quigley is a professor of law at at Moritz College Law, Ohio State University. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press.

 

 

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our FREE Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust

  Support Information Clearing House

Monthly Subscription To Information Clearing House
 

Search Information Clearing House

 

 

 

 

 

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information ClearingHouse endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

 

HOME

COPYRIGHT NOTICE