Drone strikes are supposed to be done as military operations against enemy forces, not random acts of murder. But Barack Obama doesn’t seem too worried…
Obviously wars depend on killing. Contrary to many on the Right and the Left, Barack Obama has had no qualms about killing and killing many. But sometimes, when the press gets hold of information about just how many people are getting killed by drones whom we have no reason to target, the Administration gets embarrassed.
So what do they do?
They publicly announce a new effort to make sure everything is done “according to the rules.” This appeals to Americans’ pride in their nation as “a nation of laws, not of men,” etc.
And then, having publicly announced all the rules they are going to follow, the Obama Administration quietly begins breaking them (or admitting they are breaking them, as if they weren’t doing it before).
This was summarized tidily at Rare.us: “President Obama continues to ignore his own rules for drone strikes.”
It reviews the 2012 story by the New York Times that exposed how the drone killings were being cleansed of references to all the civilians being killed. They were all being labeled “militants” for being the wrong age.
Needless to say, the 2012 exposé did not boost confidence in the legality or ethics of the drone program. So in 2013, the president introduced new rules which were supposed to limit American drone warfare. Then, the Administration realized it didn’t actually like having rules and announced the rules would not apply in Syria or Pakistan or indeed anywhere ISIS goes. Civilian deaths continue to pile up in Yemen, too.
Then it quotes from a recent Guardian story:
The Obama administration is again allowing the CIA to use drone strikes to secretly kill people that the spy agency does not know the identities of in multiple countries — despite repeated statements to the contrary.
That’s what we learned this week, when Nasir al-Wuhayshi, an alleged leader of al-Qaida, died in a strike in Yemen. While this time the CIA seems to have guessed right, apparently the drone operators didn’t even know at the time who they were aiming at — only that they thought the target was possibly a terrorist hideout. It’s what’s known as a “signature” strike, where the CIA is not clear who its drone strikes are killing, only that the targets seem like they are terrorists from the sky.
Obama really thinks he is piloting the Death Star. Drones are not a tool for doing important anti-terrorist missions. No one sent a drone after Osama bin Laden.
Likewise, when the location of a high-level target in Syria was discovered, they didn’t send a drone. They sent people to do a precise killing that didn’t involve blowing up civilians.
No matter how many times they claim to be following rules, they are always granting themselves exceptions and doing what they want.