Action Alerts

Something Wicked is Brewing in Washington

The United States may be drawing down its longest war, but its second longest war seems to have just begun. November 3 will mark the tenth anniversary of the US's secret war of targeted killing—but according to a three-part series published in the Washington Post last week, US officials have no plans to draw this war down any time soon. [1] [2]

The Post's description of the program and its de facto head, John O. Brennan, are quite terrifying. A “dispositional matrix” that is said to be in development as a guide for targeting sounds like the title of a bad Hollywood thriller. US officials calling Brennan a “priest-like presence” and lauding his moral depth is not only horrifying, but seems to reflect the frightening moral vacuity of those running the US drone program. [3]

The Post series notes that there is little internal contention over the effectiveness of the drone program. Neither is there any espoused difference between President Obama and Mitt Romney's views on the matter, as evidenced by Romney's zealous endorsement of Obama's drone program during the third presidential debate. [4]

And yet, when pressed, supporters of the US drone program sound inhuman when making their defense. When former White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked recently to justify the killing of Anwar al Awlaki's 16 year old son—who was a US citizen—in a drone attack two weeks after his father was killed in another US drone strike, Gibbs' soulless response was to say that the boy shouldn't have had a terrorist for a father. [5]

Today, polls show that a majority of Americans support US drone strike policy. We're working to change that. Through education and grassroots organizing, we can turn the tide against current US drone policy, just as the tide turned against the Afghan war.

Success! Now Tell Schieffer and Others to Follow Up on Monday Night's Drone Question

Just Foreign Policy supporters urged Bob Schieffer to ask a question on drones—and he did!

During Monday night's presidential debate, moderator Bob Schieffer asked a direct question on a candidate's drone strike policy, which is more than had been raised in any previous debate this election season. Unfortunately, Schieffer only asked Mitt Romney the question—and let President Obama completely off the hook.

But that doesn't mean that the question was a failure. Simply raising the issue during the debate has led to a wave of media interest in US drone strike policy. Perhaps the most notable discussion occurred on MSNBC's Morning Joe when Joe Scarborough, the host and a former Republican congressman, challenged Joe Klein's defense of US drone strike policy with a passionate and well-reasoned argument against drone strikes. [1] And that's a true victory.

If Morning Joe can have a substantive debate about drone strikes, then other top news talk programs ought to be able to do so as well.

Tell Bob Schieffer and other talk show hosts to follow up on Monday night's drone question by facilitating a real discussion about drone strike policy.

We learned at least one thing from Bob Schieffer's drone question: Mitt Romney supports President Obama's drone strike policy, and would continue it as president. However, Schieffer didn't press the point with Obama, claiming that “we know President Obama’s position on this.” [2] Schieffer's failure to ask Obama a question on drones was the topic of an article in the Washington Post, [3] and the lack of substantive debate on the issue inspired an article in Time detailing the real controversy drones have caused in Pakistan. [4]

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.