President Obama’s nominee to head up the CIA, John Brennan, faced off with Senators on the Intelligence Committee on Thursday, as part of his confirmation hearing. He was asked several questions about the drone warfare program, and its lethal targeting of American citizens abroad. As the architect of this program, Brennan defended the use of drones to kill Americans who are deemed “imminent threats,” and can’t be captured.
At one point in the hearing, Senator Ron Wyden asked Brennan if American citizens should be given a chance to surrender, before they are targeted for death. Brennan dismissed the question, saying that all Americans currently working for al-Qaeda can surrender any time they wish. But the killing of American citizens with drones is just one issue. Perhaps a bigger issue, is the power of the President to order military strikes in sovereign nations, that we are not at war with, like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
This tactic sets a dangerous precedent for the future, as more nations and organizations acquire drones, and seek to use them in the same way the United States uses them. Let’s hope it doesn’t take the Mexican government targeting a drug trafficker in Phoenix with a drone strike, and killing a few Americans as collateral damage, for us all to wake up to how destructive this sort of drone warfare really is.
Democrats may trust President Obama at the helm in the drone war program – but he’ll only be in office four more years, and who knows who’ll take control afterward – and what the world will look like.
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