What should be the U.S. policy on drone use overseas?

AP: President Barack Obama on Thursday defended America’s controversial drone attacks as legal, effective and a necessary linchpin in an evolving U.S. counterterrorism policy. But he acknowledged the targeted strikes are no “cure-all” and said he is haunted by the civilians unintentionally killed.

A Nov. 2010 file image of Anwar al-Awlaki taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group.

“For the first time, the U.S. government has acknowledged killing four American citizens in lethal drone strikes far outside traditional battlefields, confirming information that had been widely known but has only recently been unclassified under orders of the president,” writes NPR’s Carrie Johnson. “Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday explaining that only one of the four dead U.S. citizens was explicitly targeted.”

President Barack Obama addressed the nation Thursday afternoon to discuss these drone deaths and a revised counterterrorism policy.

Associated Press:

Obama “believes that we need to be as transparent about a matter like this as we can, understanding that there are national security implications to this issue and to the broader issues involved in counterterrorism policy,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday.

Today’s Question: What should be the U.S. policy on drone use overseas?

  • Gary F

    Just think how you would answer this question if Bush or Romney were President.

  • Rich in Duluth

    State killing of anyone in any country without a trial and conviction or without a declaration of war, is wrong, period. Therefore, the use of drones to kill people overseas should be stopped.

    Yes, it is somewhat satisfying to know that a bad guy has been killed without risking U.S. lives, but this is wrong. It’s wrong because of the real possibility of killing innocent people along with the bad guy and it’s wrong because the “bad guy” hasn’t had a trial and been convicted or is not a soldier in a declared war.

    If a U.S. official thinks it is so important to national security, that killing a person is necessary, then that official should also be willing to give his life or freedom for authorizing that killing. He should present himself to the world court for prosecution.

    End of rant.

  • KTN

    For a long time I was against using drones to target U.S. citizens abroad, but my mind changed recently – here’s why.

    These people are enemies, they have sworn allegiance to a group with whom we are currently at war. As such they relinquish their rights to due process, and can be targeted as part of a war. Why should they get a pass just because they are citizens; they want to kill us.

    No one would argue that the targeting of Admiral Yamomoto during WWII (and he was targeted by Truman) would have been illegal or immoral. Because those members of the Al Qaeda don’t wear a uniform does not remove the fact they are at war with us, and the killing is both legal and moral.

    If the U.S. decides to stop the use of targeting, the military will go back to using conventional warfare tactics, and the collateral deaths, mainly to civilians will most certainly increase. Targeting is precise (this is not to say there will never be mistakes, but the likelihood is small).

    So what should our policy be. Congress needs to have specific rules,with strong safeguards, maybe with judicial oversight, which is currently not in place, and very well defined means for identifying the enemy, not just targeting an individual who has some connection with the group.

  • John

    I know it won’t stop but it does nothing but create hate. We have killed many innocent people and it is those families that are survivors of those killed that are learning hate.

    If the table was turned and some country was killing innocent people here with drones we would feel the same.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Drone attacks should stop. We’re creating more enemies than we’re killing with them.

  • Gary F

    I would think the current regime would be drone bombing the Associated Press or Fox News, or the NRA headquarters, or better yet, Tea Party organizations. They are the real enemy.

  • Pearly

    It is Obamas drone policy right? I mean he is the President. Or maybe this is just another policy he had on prior knowledge of.

  • Jim G

    These killer drones strikes are causing more trouble than the benefit we gain. I believe we should make every effort to apprehend and try treasonous citizens in our American courts. Failing that, could we at least try them in absentia if necessary? Isn’t the penalty for treason death? If a death penalty is the verdict handed down by an American court, then send out send out the killer drones. but only if they are still beyond our law enforcement’s reach These drone strikes against rogue Americans executes not only the victims but our citizens’ legal rights to protection given to us under our laws and Bill of Rights.

  • Paul

    If anyone is planning on killing us or our allies, we should be able to kill them by the most practical means possible and in an asymmetrical conflict the no bombardier Obama bombers beat boots blown off by booby traps.