Voyage au cœur dune France fasciste et catholique intégriste (DOCUMENTS) (French Edition)
That hard line should perhaps surprise only the naive. In January , when Obama came to power, the drone programme existed only for Pakistan and had seen 44 strikes in five years.
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With Obama in office it expanded to Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia with more than strikes. Since April there have been 14 strikes in Yemen alone. Civilian casualties are common. One in Pakistan missed and blew up a respected tribal leader and a peace delegation.
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The drone operation now operates out of two main bases in the US, dozens of smaller installations and at least six foreign countries. Yet for some, politics seems moot.
Obama has shown himself to be a ruthless projector of national security powers at home and abroad, but the alternative in the coming election is Republican Mitt Romney. A crisis of who we are as Americans. The air force, however, calls them RPAs, or remotely piloted aircraft, as they are flown by human pilots, just at a great distance from where they are operating. This includes examining footage of people and vehicles on the ground in target countries and trying to observe patterns in their movements.
US Customs and Border Protection has drones patrolling land and sea borders. They are used in drug busts and to prevent illegal cross-border traffic. Ten years ago there were fewer than Their origins go back to the Vietnam war and beyond that to the use of reconnaissance balloons on the battlefield. Iranian forces claimed it had been downed by sophisticated jamming technology. A Pakistani protest against US drone strikes.
The latest two attacks have killed 12 people. A Pakistani protest in June , after two recent US drone strikes killed 12 people. As a candidate, Obama also promised to restore proper legislative and judicial oversight to counterterrorism operations. Four years later, it is clear that President Obama has delivered a very different counterterrorism policy from that which he promised on the campaign trail. The article itself — clearly written with the cooperation of the administration, as the writers had unprecedented access to three dozen counterterrorism advisers — was designed to showcase Obama as a warrior president, thoughtfully wrestling with the moral issues involved in drone strikes, but forceful enough to pull the trigger when needed.
As Charles Pierce has noted, there is nothing in the constitution that allows the president to wage a private war on individuals outside the authorization of Congress. The spirit of the constitution was quite the opposite: all of the founders were concerned, in varying degrees, with the risk of allowing the president to exercise too much discretion when declaring war or using force abroad.
For this reason, the constitution explicitly grants the right to declare war to the Congress in order to restrain the president from chasing enemies around the world based solely on his authority as commander-in-chief. The founders would be horrified, not comforted, to know that the president has implicated himself in the killing of foreign nationals in states against which the Congress has not passed a declaration of war.
Beyond bypassing the constitution and the War Powers Act, the Obama administration has also adopted a dangerously broad interpretation of the legal right to use drone strikes against terrorist suspects abroad. According to his counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, the legal authority for the drone strikes derives from the Authorization for Use of Military Force AUMF passed by the Congress in September to authorize the attack on Afghanistan.
This interpretation treats the AUMF as a warrant to allow the president to use force against anyone at any time in a war without a defined endpoint. Together with the bland assertion that the US has the right to self-defense against al-Qaida under international law, these legal arguments have enabled the president to expand drone operations against terrorist organizations to Yemen and Somalia, as well as to escalate the campaign against militant networks in Pakistan.
To date, Obama has launched drone strikes against targets in Pakistan. This vast, expansive interpretation of executive power to enable drone wars conducted in secret around the globe has also set dangerous precedent, which the administration has not realized or acknowledged. Once Obama leaves office, there is nothing stopping the next president from launching his own drone strikes, perhaps against a different and more controversial array of targets. For those Democrats who are comforted by the fact that Obama has the final say in authorizing drone strikes and so refuse to criticize the administration, ask yourself: would you be as comfortable if the next decision on who is killed by a drone was left to President Romney, or President Palin?
Also in contravention of his campaign promises, the Obama administration has worked to expand its power of the executive and to resist oversight from the other branches of government. As the complexity and consequences of the drone strikes have grown, the administration has insisted that it alone should be trusted with the decision about when drone strikes are permitted, and consequently provides only the bare minimum of information to congressional oversight committees about drone activities.
According to statistics compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, at least civilians have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, though the figure could be much higher. Yet, the Obama administration has consistently argued that almost no civilians are killed in these strikes, despite independent assessments that put the number of civilians killed as much higher.
These signature strikes are almost guaranteed to increase the number of civilian casualties, as they are far more likely to catch innocent people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The drone strikes are portrayed by the administration as successful because they are able to take out high-ranking terrorist operatives, such as Abu Yahya al-Libi. But such a portrayal conflates a tactical victory killing one al-Qaida commander with a strategic success that is, dampening the growth of extremist movements in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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It also rarely looks at the other side of the ledger and asks whether the drone strikes have jeopardized the stability of the governments of Pakistan and Yemen, possibly risking more chaos if they are overthrown. During his first presidential campaign, Obama promised to control counterterrorism operations and to put them in their proper place as one piece of a wider set of relationships with other governments.
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His embrace of drones and his willingness to shoot first may also be policies that the US comes to regret when its rivals, such as China begin to develop and use their own drones. Instead, he has provided another iteration of that approach, with a level of cold-blooded ruthlessness and a contempt for the constitutional limits imposed on executive power that rivals his predecessor.
Do Drones Undermine Democracy? IN democracies like ours, there have always been deep bonds between the public and its wars. Citizens have historically participated in decisions to take military action, through their elected representatives, helping to ensure broad support for wars and a willingness to share the costs, both human and economic, of enduring them. Yet these links and this division of labor are now under siege as a result of a technology that our founding fathers never could have imagined.
Just 10 years ago, the idea of using armed robots in war was the stuff of Hollywood fantasy. Today, the United States military has more than 7, unmanned aerial systems, popularly called drones. There are 12, more on the ground. Last year, they carried out hundreds of strikes — both covert and overt — in six countries, transforming the way our democracy deliberates and engages in what we used to think of as war.
We do not declare war anymore; the last time Congress actually did so was in — against Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. And now we possess a technology that removes the last political barriers to war. But when politicians can avoid the political consequences of the condolence letter — and the impact that military casualties have on voters and on the news media — they no longer treat the previously weighty matters of war and peace the same way. For the first years of American democracy, engaging in combat and bearing risk — both personal and political — went hand in hand.
In the age of drones, that is no longer the case.
The original Predator, which went into service in , lacked even GPS and was initially unarmed; newer models can take off and land on their own, and carry smart sensors that can detect a disruption in the dirt a mile below the plane and trace footprints back to an enemy hide-out. There is not a single new manned combat aircraft under research and development at any major Western aerospace company, and the Air Force is training more operators of unmanned aerial systems than fighter and bomber pilots combined. In , unmanned systems carried out strikes from Afghanistan to Yemen.
The most notable of these continuing operations is the not-so-covert war in Pakistan, where the United States has carried out more than drone strikes since Yet this operation has never been debated in Congress; more than seven years after it began, there has not even been a single vote for or against it. This campaign is not carried out by the Air Force; it is being conducted by the C. This shift affects everything from the strategy that guides it to the individuals who oversee it civilian political appointees and the lawyers who advise them civilians rather than military officers.
It also affects how we and our politicians view such operations. I do not condemn these strikes; I support most of them. What troubles me, though, is how a new technology is short-circuiting the decision-making process for what used to be the most important choice a democracy could make. Something that would have previously been viewed as a war is simply not being treated like a war. THE change is not limited to covert action.
In late March, the White House announced that the American military was handing over combat operations to its European partners and would thereafter play only a supporting role. The distinction was crucial. But it had limited public support and no Congressional approval.
Starting on April 23, American unmanned systems were deployed over Libya. For the next six months, they carried out at least strikes on their own. Choosing to make the operation unmanned proved critical to initiating it without Congressional authorization and continuing it with minimal public support. This previously would have been a disaster, with the risk of an American aircrew being captured or even killed.
Congress has not disappeared from all decisions about war, just the ones that matter. The same week that American drones were carrying out their th unauthorized airstrike in Libya, the president notified Congress that he had deployed Special Operations troops to a different part of Africa.
Congress applauded the president for notifying it about this small noncombat mission but did nothing about having its laws ignored in the much larger combat operation in Libya. We must now accept that technologies that remove humans from the battlefield, from unmanned systems like the Predator to cyberweapons like the Stuxnet computer worm, are becoming the new normal in war. Freeing the executive branch to act as it chooses may be appealing to some now, but many future scenarios will be less clear-cut.
And each political party will very likely have a different view, depending on who is in the White House.
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Even worthy actions can sometimes have unintended consequences. Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber, was drawn into terrorism by the very Predator strikes in Pakistan meant to stop terrorism. Similarly, C. A deep deliberation on war was something the framers of the Constitution sought to build into our system.
These days, when it comes to authorizing war, Congress generally sits there silently, except for the occasional clapping. And we do the same at home. Last year, I met with senior Pentagon officials to discuss the many tough issues emerging from our growing use of robots in war. The Constitution did not leave war, no matter how it is waged, to the executive branch alone. Peter W. The drone wars. They kill without warning, are comparatively cheap, risk no American lives, and produce triumphant headlines. Since taking office, President Barack Obama has unleashed five times as many drone strikes as George W.
Bush authorized in his second term in the White House. He has transformed drone attacks from a rarely used tactic that killed dozens each year to a twice-weekly onslaught that killed more than 1, people in Pakistan in Last year, American drone strikes spread to Somalia and Libya as well. In the wake of the troubled, trillion-dollar American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, drone strikes are a talisman in Washington.