Image Source: WIkimedia Commons

BY MADISON MACK

ANCHOR JAMAL ANDRESS


With more than 300 strikes and 2,500 killed since 2004, the Obama administration is now taking steps to build a legal framework for the U.S. drone strike program.

The New York Times reported Sunday officials are drafting an official rule book which would lay out circumstances where targeted assassinations by unmanned drones are justified.  

An anonymous official told the Times the administration wanted to leave the next president clear standards and procedures.

“Mr. Obama did not want to leave an ‘amorphous’ program to his successor. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace.”

Although the ground rules for when drone strikes would be appropriate are not public, the moral, ethical and constitutional problems raised by the targeted killings are well known.

While both the President and his aides have made public remarks about the program before, the government has never officially acknowledged the existence of the program and it remains classified. The Atlantic Wire’s Connor Simpson says currently, there’s nothing in place to hold the president or anyone accountable for the drone program.

“He can order attacks on whichever militants he pleases, and this raises concerns with some critics. But we really don't know much about the current drone decision making process, and the administration so rarely goes on record about the drone program” 

One of the few places where the president has spoken about the program openly was on The Daily Show back in October.

“One of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president’s reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making,”

But despite reported infighting among the CIA, the Pentagon, and the Justice and State departments, the report hasn’t done anything to ease the mind of civil rights groups who oppose the program in general and its expanding military role.

The Guardian spoke with Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy who says the debate happening within the administration is largely irrelevant.  

“We are left with interpreting shadows cast on the wall. The terms that are being used by these officials are undefined, malleable and without definition. It is impossible to know whether they are talking about something lawful or unlawful.”

A study released in  September by the Stanford Law School and NYU’s School of Law called for the program counterproductive and called for its reevaluation because it found the strikes killed and traumatized too many civilians while having only a 2% success rate of killing high profile militant targets.

But New York Magazine says the unifying of policy between the government agencies is a start.

“A highly classified draft of a drone strike rulebook has reportedly begun making the rounds among the various agencies responsible for such things, but it'll probably be awhile before the public sees it — if ever. Still, this at least seems like a step in the right direction.”

The Times reports the draft rule book is so highly classified, that it is physically carried around rather than sent by email. The U.N. plans to open a unit in Geneva next year to investigate American drone strikes.   

 

 

Obama Admin. Drafting a Rulebook for Targeted Killings

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Nov 25, 2012

Obama Admin. Drafting a Rulebook for Targeted Killings

 

Image Source: WIkimedia Commons

BY MADISON MACK

ANCHOR JAMAL ANDRESS


With more than 300 strikes and 2,500 killed since 2004, the Obama administration is now taking steps to build a legal framework for the U.S. drone strike program.

The New York Times reported Sunday officials are drafting an official rule book which would lay out circumstances where targeted assassinations by unmanned drones are justified.  

An anonymous official told the Times the administration wanted to leave the next president clear standards and procedures.

“Mr. Obama did not want to leave an ‘amorphous’ program to his successor. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace.”

Although the ground rules for when drone strikes would be appropriate are not public, the moral, ethical and constitutional problems raised by the targeted killings are well known.

While both the President and his aides have made public remarks about the program before, the government has never officially acknowledged the existence of the program and it remains classified. The Atlantic Wire’s Connor Simpson says currently, there’s nothing in place to hold the president or anyone accountable for the drone program.

“He can order attacks on whichever militants he pleases, and this raises concerns with some critics. But we really don't know much about the current drone decision making process, and the administration so rarely goes on record about the drone program” 

One of the few places where the president has spoken about the program openly was on The Daily Show back in October.

“One of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president’s reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making,”

But despite reported infighting among the CIA, the Pentagon, and the Justice and State departments, the report hasn’t done anything to ease the mind of civil rights groups who oppose the program in general and its expanding military role.

The Guardian spoke with Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy who says the debate happening within the administration is largely irrelevant.  

“We are left with interpreting shadows cast on the wall. The terms that are being used by these officials are undefined, malleable and without definition. It is impossible to know whether they are talking about something lawful or unlawful.”

A study released in  September by the Stanford Law School and NYU’s School of Law called for the program counterproductive and called for its reevaluation because it found the strikes killed and traumatized too many civilians while having only a 2% success rate of killing high profile militant targets.

But New York Magazine says the unifying of policy between the government agencies is a start.

“A highly classified draft of a drone strike rulebook has reportedly begun making the rounds among the various agencies responsible for such things, but it'll probably be awhile before the public sees it — if ever. Still, this at least seems like a step in the right direction.”

The Times reports the draft rule book is so highly classified, that it is physically carried around rather than sent by email. The U.N. plans to open a unit in Geneva next year to investigate American drone strikes.   

 

 

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