In Next Debate, Let's Get a Question on Drones

During the last two presidential debates, the foreign policy discussion—what little there has been—has largely centered around the murder of four members of the US embassy staff in Benghazi. But while these four deaths were certainly grievous, the killing of hundreds of civilians in Pakistan from US drone strikes has so far been ignored—and that's outrageous.

But we may be able to change that. Next Monday, October 22, President Obama and Mitt Romney will face off in the final debate before election day—and the entire debate will be dedicated to foreign policy issues. Drones deserve a place in the discussion.

Tell moderator Bob Schieffer to ask a question on drones during Monday's presidential debate on foreign policy.

In the last four years, the use of unmanned drones to engage in so-called “targeted killing” has escalated dramatically. In Pakistan alone, US drone strikes have increased five fold during the Obama administration. Drone campaigns have also expanded in other countries, such as Yemen and Somalia, and recent reports suggest that the administration is considering further expanding the CIA drone fleet and using drones to hunt down the terrorists involved in last month's Benghazi attack.

Yet, the Obama administration has failed to engage substantively on the morality, efficacy, and accuracy of US drone strikes.

Earlier this week, Just Foreign Policy's Policy Director, Robert Naiman, returned from Pakistan, where he was participating in a peace delegation against US drone strikes. While there, Robert and other members of the delegation had two meetings with the acting US ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Hoagland. During these meetings, the ambassador acknowledged the existence of an official, classified civilian death count, denied recent reports that the US has targeted rescuers via “secondary” or “follow-up” strikes, and also denied a New York Times report that the US was counting every “military-aged male” killed by a US drone strike as a “militant.” US officials in Washington have never engaged in this kind of public dialogue on the drone strike policy. It's time for that to change.

The American people deserve to know what the next administration has planned for US drone strike policy. Yet, the media has not been aggressive enough in challenging the administration's assertions on drones, as the public editor at the New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, recently acknowledged. Nor has Romney been asked a substantive question on how drones would be used in his administration in any of the numerous debates he's participated in.

According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sponsors all the presidential debates, the topics for Monday's debate will include “America's Role in the World”, “The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism”, and “Our Longest War—Afghanistan and Pakistan”. Considering the fact that drones have become a serious source of tension between the US and Pakistani governments, the candidates ought to be pressed on the issue of drones.

Tell Bob Schieffer to make drones an issue in Monday's foreign policy debate.

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Please support our work. Donate for a Just Foreign Policy.

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It might surprise pelope, but having been a soldier in my former life, their are laws that govern armed conflict, which surprisingly are known as the laws of armed conflict. The US being the "demon" it is, subscribes to these laws, not that you'll see it in print very much. The days of randomly killing anyone you like in warfare died out about the same time as red coats forming squares became a "modern" military tactic. Randomly dropping bombs or shooting anyone you like is unlawful and there are US soldiers in jail for it today, and probably soldiers from other militaries too. Each of these "assassinations" is a military target attempting to be struck with as precise an effect as is possible with a missile launched from 25,000 feet up and sometimes as far as 8 kilometres away. That precision is surprisingly accurate, but mistakes are always made, because human beings are involved in the process. From a moral point of view (and the effect on the person targetted) there is no difference between a soldier with a rifle shooting an enemy or a Predator UAV firing a Hellfire missile and killing him.It might also surprise some pelope to know, that a pilot at a control station has to press the trigger for a Predator to launch a Hellfire missile, just as a soldier has to decide to pull the trigger to shoot an enemy soldier Which is why I object to the use of drones. The word drone implies that these are "mindless". The machine is, but the pilot flying them isn't. He just isn't on-board, but he's every but as much in control of the aircraft as if he were .VN:F [1.9.22_1171](from 0 votes)

Look, the days of armies macrhing across battlefields are over. That day is gone.These days armies are there to rid the infestation of rats left over after a bombing run or 20,000 As such, our enemies (and yes we've got them) have changed the rules. They're no longer states. They're a couple of Arabs in a cave and a goat harem out back with dreams of 911 v2.0.Sometimes they can be eliminated by simple stupidity like when they blow themselves up in beta testing, but sometimes we gotta do it.I figure we may as well have some guidelines on it, rather than just have Obama point his fingers at some dude and say there that guy I don't like him. He's got a beard. Eliminate him.'VN:F [1.9.22_1171](from 0 votes) [url=]ynvkigwrb[/url] [link=]kedyltq[/link]

No, it's a non-specific media term used to create drama and houleplfy generate reader interest. I highly doubt any of the official "reports" alluded to in the article contain the term "targetted assassination". It's the same as the use of the word "drones". Only ignorant broadsheet media types use the term, because the operators, manufacturers etc call them by their true names. Unmanned aerial vehicles, Unmanned aerial combat vehicles, unmanned aerial systems and so on. These terms aren't as exciting or divisive, so the broadsheets make up their own more dramatic sounding terms (no matter how incorrect they may be) in order to sell copy.Oh and incidentally, stoke up public outrage over their use VN:F [1.9.22_1171](from 0 votes)


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