When you see politicians on television cheering each other on about the use of drones, it is all made to seem so abstract and clean. The reality is quite a different story and raises some fundamental questions that are being glossed over: Is it lawful or wise for the Executive to be sending missiles and drones into other countries, outside of places where the U.S. is engaged in active combat, to kill people, including American citizens, that it suspects of involvement in terrorism?  Haven’t we seen unchecked power lead to enormous life and death mistakes over the past decade?  And doesn’t this set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the world?

These lethal strikes, through the CIA and secret military forces, are now routinely being carried out not only in Afghanistan, where the United States is involved in a recognized armed conflict, but also in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, with the exact outer boundaries of how far the United States thinks it can go alarmingly unclear.

The phrase “targeted killing” suggests a limited policy of surgical precision to these strikes that is far from an accurate description. The Obama administration won’t say how many it has killed, who they were, or how many were bystanders, but others have been filling in the information void.  According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalists, for example, the United States has carried out nearly 350 lethal strikes in Pakistan since 2004, killing between 2,500 and 3,400 people. Nearly 300 of the strikes occurred under this administration.  In Yemen, the numbers have gone from one reported U.S. strike in 2002 to at least 43 lethal operations and counting sinc

Oxdown Diaries

Oxdown Diaries