DRONE ATTACKS: THE LATEST ASPECT OF GROWING
By Sherwood Ross
May 6, 2012---Although President Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser says caution is exercised when making drone attacks, official
(Only last week,
Presidential adviser John Brennan told a group of academicians at the Woodrow Wilson Center, “We only authorize a strike if we have a high degree of confidence that innocent civilians will not be injured or killed, except in the rarest of circumstances,” Charlie Savage of The New York Times reports in the April 30th edition.
But Brennan acknowledged “instances when — despite the extraordinary precautions we take — civilians have been accidentally injured, or worse, killed in these strikes. It is exceedingly rare, but it has happened. When it does, it pains us and we regret it deeply, as we do any time innocents are killed in war.”
Exceedingly rare? As Juan Cole of the
The BIJ estimates the
“At the very time Brennan made his speech, there emerged further confirmation of CIA ‘signature strikes’ that were launched at people who allegedly may be engaged in a pattern of activity that could somehow suggest their involvement in some form of terrorism on the basis of dubious intelligence,” said Francis Boyle, the distinguished professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign.
“These ‘signature strikes’ are indiscriminate and thus illegal and war crimes. And the fact that all these drone strikes constitute widespread and systematic war crimes mean they also constitute Crimes against Humanity as defined by the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court and customary international criminal law,” Boyle added.
“Obama, Brennan, Petraeus and the CIA operatives involved must be held criminally accountable for these war crimes and Crimes against Humanity in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, inter alia,” said Boyle, author of “Tackling America’s Toughest Questions”(Clarity).
Obama, who presents himself as the doting father of two daughters, is systematically and criminally taking the lives of other parents’ children in his blind passion to destroy his enemies. He has radically stepped up drone attacks over his predecessor, George W. Bush, and makes no apologies for their commission. The drones are now so “hot” in the Pentagon arsenal that manufacturers cannot keep pace with the demand for them. The
Cole points out the drone strikes are largely carried out in places where no war has been declared; neither has any Status of Forces Agreement been signed. “They operate outside the framework of the Constitution, with no due process or habeas corpus, recalling premodern practices of the English monarchy, such as declaring people outlaws, issuing bills of attainder against individuals who offend the crown and trying them in secret Star Chamber proceedings.”
“The only due process afforded those killed from the air is an intelligence assessment, possibly based on dubious sources and not reviewed by a judge,” Cole writes. “There is no consistency, no application of the rule of law. Guilt by association and absence of due process are the hallmarks of shadow government.”
Of the 3,000 slayings in
According to Van Auken, Brennan told his
The accelerating drone strikes are only one aspect of the emerging covert operations that were once a minor arrow in the national security quiver, “The Nation” writer Cole states, but today are “the cutting edge of American power.”
“Drone strikes, electronic surveillance and stealth engagements by military units such as the Joint Special Operations Command, as well as dependence on private corporations, mercenary armies and terrorist groups, are now arguably more common as tools of U.S. foreign policy than conventional warfare or diplomacy,” Cole writes.
Author Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant “for good causes” who writes on political and military topics. He formerly reported for the Chicago Daily News and worked as a columnist for wire services. Reach him at email@example.com.