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Commentary: The double down on drones
Published on March 5, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Mario Boothe

Let it be known for the record that President Barrack Obama actually isn’t the first sitting president to apply the drone-war policy as a element of a broader strategy to tackle terrorism but his use and wide ranged approach – be it criticized – certainly leaves room for further universal research and policy development surrounding drones and future military technology, clearing the air on issues that will have to be tackled – the killing of American and allied nations citizens, for instance.

Mario Boothe is a young aspiring political analyst, with a growing blog readership. He has been involved in the Jamaican political environment with his involvement in political organizations and groups. He has obtained an associate’s degree in hospitality and tourism management, majoring in travel and tourism.
Recently, NBC News published a Justice Department memo that lays out a broad rationale for targeting individual Americans anywhere outside the US for assassination -- without oversight from Congress or the courts, and even if the US citizen in question is not actively plotting a specific terrorist attack.

Wednesday, The White House directed the Justice Department to release to the two Congressional Intelligence Committees classified documents discussing the legal justification for killing, by drone strikes and other means, American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists.

The decision to release the legal memo to the Intelligence Committees came under pressure; two days after a bipartisan group of 11 senators joined a growing noise asking for more information about the legal justification for targeted killings.

The Drone-War Begins

A New Republic article by Eter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann gives detailed accounts on the issue:

“In the face of the intense Pakistani opposition to American boots on the ground, the Bush administration chose to rely on drones to target suspected militants. Bush ordered the CIA to expand its attacks with Predator and Reaper drones, and, according to a former Bush administration official familiar with the program, the US government stopped notifying Pakistani officials when strikes were imminent or obtaining their ‘concurrence’ for the attacks. As a result, the time that it took for a target to be identified and engaged dropped from many hours to 45 minutes.”

The Predators and Reapers are operated by a squadron of pilots stationed in Nevada and are equipped to drop Hellfire missiles and JDAM bombs, respectively. More than two-dozen feet in length, the drones linger over the tribal areas looking for targets. Between July 2008 and the time he left office, President Bush authorized 30 Predator and Reaper strikes on Pakistani territory, compared to the six strikes that the CIA had launched during the first half of the year, a fivefold increase.
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